Review: Amber Bixby - Teen Mom

February 14, 2020

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As a general rule, "What a train wreck" is not how you'd like to be described by anyone and certainly not the last words you want people to hear on your debut album. But that's what's so genuinely wonderful about Amber Bixby and how she throws surprises at you with her comedy. In her debut album, Teen Mom on the Sure Thing Records label, she expertly tells you stories, shares who she is (the title is a dead giveaway) and reveals to you just how her dark, anxious brain works.

Having watched Amber for the better part of her 10 years in comedy, I'm familiar with many of the jokes that appear on this album and what I can objectively say is this is a fantastic display of the turn, the tone shift, and playfulness that you get when you see Amber Bixby in person. The tone shift happens multiple times throughout the album. She is an absolute expert in turning concepts upside down. She'll never let me compliment her in this way, but I can't think of anyone who does this better right now - there are only one or two on the national stage that do this as well. Everything from being a teen mom, to decorating her work cubicle for a contest, to environmental conservancy (a nod to the 10th track which I cannot in good conscience type here) is up for a turn.

On several occasions, I found myself surprised at hearing a joke I hadn't heard before or hearing Amber experiment with impressions. My favorite track is Sister-Mom. It may be that as a parent, I relate a little too much to struggling to recover from a faux-pas in front of your child, but there is something about the way that Amber set the scene and described the interactions that made it all feel so hysterically real. I think no matter your background or your age, you're going to find at least one track that instantly becomes your favorite. And despite being incredibly composed on stage every time I've seen her, kudos to Amber for allowing a few breaks to make it onto the album when a rapscallion or two laugh a little too genuinely at an opening line to one of her jokes. She's showing us again and again how human and fragile she can be. What an incredible skill as a comic to share that with us while making us laugh.

On one of my listens to the album, I was joined by a certified teenager who laughed at the turns, the playful change in voices, and gave the album an A+ rating. With a title like Teen Mom and now the Mom of a Teen, I've got to imagine that the accolades of a Teen count for something for Amber. Or maybe she is, after all, too cool for that.

The closing phrase to the album by the way, is uttered by her album recording host and Sure Thing Records labelmate, Mac Blake. While very much tongue in cheek, after hearing the album several times, I feel confident in correcting Mac by saying "What a beautiful, funny, dark train wreck".

The album is available on Friday, February 14, 2020. Grab your copy now and support Amber and make it possible for her to afford to buy her daughter a $23 steak every once in a while.

Get it at Sure Thing Records or on iTunes/Apple Music (search for Amber Bixby).