Listening to a Vivian Green song is not unlike hearing your best girlfriend's relationship woes set to music. Green, who once penned pop tunes for Britney Spears, is relatable because she handles her own songwriting and is only too happy to share her life lessons.
"I tell all my business," the singer announced at the Birchmere on Wednesday night. "With no shame!" And although she performed just nine songs, Green managed to cram loads of her dirty laundry into the brief set.
The Philadelphia native told the crowd that "Sweet Memory (Beautifully Young)," from her new disc, "Vivian," recalls first loves, including her own. "Under My Skin," Green said, is about her son's father, her ex-fiance, and the things he would do to push her buttons. "Mad" wasn't prefaced with an anecdote, but lines like "The thought of you touching me / Makes me wanna vomit, baby," smack of firsthand knowledge.
The singer even shared the story behind her impossibly taut tummy. "I'm a new mommy and I gained 50 pounds of baby weight and I lost it!" she said. "And I'm damn proud!"
But Green's cautionary tales about love and life are most intimate and raw when detailed explanations are omitted. Thanks to plenty of big notes and throaty low tones, Green's vulnerability on the piano-drenched "What Is Love?" was more mesmerizing and intimate than her other admissions. Green's confessional style might be what makes her such an accessible figure, but her soaring, unwavering voice gets the credit for her stardom.
-- Sarah Godfrey