Saturday, August 16, 2008

Michelle Branch - Hotel Paper

Release Date: 06/24/03
Genre: Pop-Rock

I remember being so excited for this album, I still remember the original release date being June 10, and then it was pushed back 2 weeks. Then Beyoncé pushed her album a week early. If she hadn't, Michelle would have had her first number 1 album. For my 101th review, I'm gonna "review" this album, but mainly because I just need it to be here because it's an album I still greatly love 5 years later.

Review: Album starts with an intro and enters "Are You Happy Now?" The song is a rocker and probably her most ambitious. Her vocals are strong and the guitars are aided by Dave Navarro giving it some flare. "Find Your Way Back" has radio potential in the chorus. "I'm finding my way back to you and everything I used to be." I really like how it doesn't pause for anything so it's just a long run on song. I think the song gets lost in the album because "Empty Handed" is next and it's the best song, musically. It's not too extravagant, but the strings give it a unique flavor. Personally, I can't relate to it at all, but I love her vocals in her words. "You feel the water but do you swim." Near the end, she sings "la la la la" for 20 seconds. It's fun. Reminded me of "Paper Pieces."

"Tuesday Morning" was the song I first connected with strongly. What does it mean, no idea. What does it mean when she said "Tuesday morning, in the dark. I was finding out who I was." Then the bridges, she informs us that the sun is coming up. The music is very optimistic musically, mysterious lyrically. I sometimes get chills at the climax because Michelle's voice is so gorgeous and the instrumentation just erupts.

"One of Theses Days" is a song on the piano. It's always scary for an artist to drift to an unfamiliar instrumental, but I have no complains other than the annoying 'tick' sound that is notable. Again, her vocals are so awesome. lyrics, I think anyone can relate.

"Love Me Like That" sucks. or does it? The beginning notes of the song always make me cringe and I want to skip it. I have no problems with Sheryl Crow, but this song just ruins the mood of the album so it just doesn't feel right.

"Desperately" is an awesome song. A precursor of what eventually became The Wreckers. Jessica Harp sings background vocals on this track and it sounds great. I love their harmonies. "Breathe" was the song that just screamed radio hit, but for whatever reason, never took off. The chorus is very friendly and catchy, but I always felt it wasn't her best song. "Where Are You Now?" is another song that could be radio material. The song is just done right and maybe a little cheesy, but it's a good track. But I think it gets lost because "Hotel Paper" comes next.

The title track really displays are vocals abilities again. It doesn't really feel pop or rock, but as a mature singer songwriter from the 70s. Good heart and emotion. "'Til I Get Over You" is cool because of the french chorus. Also, she holds a note for 5 seconds. Doesn't sound that impressive on paper, but listening, it's really cool to hear. The final song is "It's You" and I don' know why, but i always picture this song in a dark room with candles. I just wish it was longer.

Summary: I remember during the first week, I gave The Spirit Room a slight nod because there wasn't a stand out track I connected with such as "All You Wanted" or "I'd Rather Be In Love." However, I knew that the average song on Hotel Paper is far greater than The Spirit Room and overtime, I hardly listen to TSR anymore. Hotel Paper is nearly non-stop in terms of great melodies and songwriting. "Love Me Like That" is the only thing holding this album down. Also my increase in love for other types of music.

Key Tracks: Empty Handed, Tuesday Morning, One of These Days
Rating: 8/10

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