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Leona Naess
I TRIED TO ROCK YOU BUT YOU ONLY ROLL
(MCA)

Leona Naess is easy to hate. The daughter of Norwegian shipping magnate Arne Naess (former husband of Diana Ross), she’s rich, privileged, and beautiful enough to be a Calvin Klein model. Her second album, however, is hard to dislike. An assured collection of crispy electro-folk, shimmering adult alternative rock, and bubbly ’80s-style synth-pop, I Tried To Rock You But You Only Roll finds this gilded songbird spinning out countless sticky little melodies and plenty of grand grab-me hooks. Naess’s breathy, upper-register vocals recall Edie Brickell, though she stays away from any sort of faux bohemian meanderings, instead keeping the subject matter simple — boys. The one who left, the one who won’t leave, and the one who won’t pay attention. The boy who deserves the most praise, though, is Swedish producer Martin Terefe, who dresses up her radio-ready pop rock with electronica cool and new-wave kitsch. A coffeehouse strummer with her eye on the charts, Naess turns out touchy-feely pop that’s slick enough for Dawson’s Creek ("Mexico) and moody enough for post-break-up depression ("Promise To Try").

BY MICHAEL ENDELMAN

Issue Date: November 22 - 29, 2001

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