Recording information: Studio E, Chalice Recording, Los Angeles, CA; The Brain Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Illustrator: Martha Rich.
Photographer: Miranda Penn Turin.
Bridgit Mendler came up through the Disney ranks, appearing in a TV series (Good Luck Charlie) and starring in a musical movie (Lemonade Mouth), where she played the singer of the titular band. Her sunny charm and fine singing voice are both featured on her debut solo album, Hello, My Name Is..., and so are her songwriting chops, as she co-wrote every track on the album. She and her production team concocted a resolutely Pop sound, relying on Auto-Tune (even when it doesn't seem like they need to) and bringing in hip-hop beats, big rock guitars, bubbling electronics, and on lead single "Ready or Not," some reggae riddims. It's not the most distinctive sound -- many of the tracks could be lifted from this album and placed on a Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato album with ease -- but it works well when combined with Mendler's idiosyncratic voice. She has an ear-catching wrinkle in her voice that gets more pronounced on the uptempo tracks; it works as a nice hook even when the song is less than thrilling. That being said, there are quite a few songs here that do make an impact. "Ready or Not" is the best track by far with a very catchy chorus, "Hurricane" has clever fairy tale lyrics and an impassioned vocal (and a sassy rap section), "Blonde" is a little clich‚d but ends up as a convincing argument that hair color isn't a gauge of brains, and "Rocks at My Window" is a witty and fun love song with a big beat. Hello, My Name Is... is an impressive debut from a singer who shows real talent and has every chance to break out of the Disney mold and do something all her own down the road. ~ Tim Sendra