Tender Forever Zzzzzz...

Wider is a quintessentially "K” record — intentionally amateurish keyboard pop, lyrics about cuddling, kissing, and how love is better than sex. It goes without saying that this is not for everybody. If you’ve never made a zine, if you’ve ever taken lessons at the Royal Conservatory, if hugging strangers makes you uncomfortable, then Tender Forever (aka Melanie Valera) will only come across as terribly cloying. Part of me resents her for giving credence to female stereotypes: judging by her records, we certainly are more "feeling-oriented” than technically inclined. But maybe I’m being cold-hearted. Valera is not a bad musician; she does it all on her own, and that’s impressive. Her personality is not without charm, and this being a bedroom-style record, whether or not you like Valera will determine whether or not you like her music. Mushiness seems to come naturally to her, and unlike some of her label mates, she doesn’t pretend the world is her kindergarten carpet — she’s a grown woman, but with deep, deep feelings. Something tells me this is better live — Valera is cute, after all, and I’m sure her stage set-up is very colourful. Don’t expect a dance party, but if you’re into cuddling while listening to music about cuddling, you should seek this out immediately. Just please don’t write a song about it afterwards. (Touch and Go)