J. Vespa/WireImage.com
Chris Willman
April 14, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

California Years

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Jill Sobule
genre
Pop

We gave it a B+

Jill Sobule famously raised 75K from her online fan base to pay for the recording of this album, and the pledge drive pays off: Like its namesake state, California Years is mostly golden. Pop’s original girl-kisser has a lonesome diarist’s ear for observational, self-conversational lyricism, whether she’s drunk-Googling her exes (both boys and girls) on ”Wendell Lee” or fantasizing about running off and growing old with the waitstaff on ”Sweetheart.” And just when you suspect Sobule might be overreliant on anecdotal drollery, she goes for the emotional jugular, almost literally, on ”Bloody Valentine.” B+

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