Glenn Gamboa Newsday columnist Glenn Gamboa

Glenn Gamboa writes about music for Newsday.

Meredith O'Connor's debut, "I Am Meredith O'Connor" (Metamorphosis), shows how good things can come from bad situations.

The singer-songwriter from Cold Spring Harbor has taken her experiences of being bullied in middle school and turned them into uplifting anthems that can help kids in similar situations better weather the storm.

On the jangly "The Game," O'Connor outlines the problems of school bullying while adopting the "it gets better" philosophy, singing, "Nobody wants to stand up for a loser till they saw how strong a loser became."

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It's a nifty twist and she pulls it off with theatrical flair. Most of O'Connor's songs sit somewhere between Debbie Gibson confessionals and Broadway, which is a pretty sweet place to be, especially when the songs are produced by Kenny Ortiz of SWV fame. O'Connor also gets some help from former Disney star Garrett Clayton, currently set for the next James Franco movie, "King Cobra." Clayton sings on the uplifting duet "Stronger," where he declares, "You say you don't need one and I know you'll be fine, but let me be your hero, like you're mine."

It's a nice sentiment, like much of "I Am Meredith O'Connor," and shows that pure pop dreaming like this will always find an audience. In O'Connor's case, her audience may find much more than just music in her songs.