Review Summary: Pop Rock done the right way.
I often think back to the time that I was starting to grow tired of heavier and louder music, and wanted something quiet, catchy and good to balance it out. Hello, Ms. Branch, nice to meet you. In 2001, Michelle Branch entered the scene at about the same time similar female vocalists did, such as Vanessa Carlton and Avril Lavigne. However, unlike the latter, Branch did more than just strum a few chords during the bridges of her songs; rather she would play the lead guitar in all of her songs.
The album starts off with the song Everywhere, the first of 3 singles from the album. It starts with a nice acoustic intro which is joined in by drum, then the whole band for the chorus. While the music generally falls under pop, this song has a rockier edge to it. The next song, You Get Me is not a bad song, but it doesn’t stand out as much as Everywhere. The most recognizable song and the second single is All You Wanted, which can be remembered for the acoustic intro which leads to the opening line “I wanted…to be like you.” After hearing the first 3 songs, it is apparent what separates Michelle Branch from the artists she was compared to; her songs can relate to the young girls in relationships without simultaneously cock-blocking their boyfriends, (i.e Avril’s “Don’t Tell Me”).
The thing that keeps the album from flowing the right way is the changes in tempo and moods between songs, like how You Set Me Free is more cheerful and upbeat, and then it is followed by the slightly mournful Something To Sleep To. One of the better songs on the album is the religious sounding song, Sweet Misery, which is actually about seeing the beauty in someone that they don’t see in themselves. The next two songs sound a bit like you’ve heard them earlier on in the album; however that doesn’t mean they are bad songs, just that the occasional user with a short attention span may be inclined to turn off the music. This would be a bad idea, as they will miss out on the most emotionally powerful song on the album, the third and final single, Goodbye To You. After a brief chat with Captain Obvious, one can conclude that this song is about a breakup, but it isn’t just a whine and cry song, instead the bridge features lyrics which explain how it is better to let go no matter how much it hurts.
“It hurts to want everything & nothing at the same time
I want what’s yours and I want what’s mine
I want you but I'm not giving in this time”
In other words, this is also a moving on type of song especially for those in on and off relationships. The final song is indeed the strangest on the album as it does not sound anything like the pop-rock which has been featured so far. The appropriately titled, Drop In The Ocean sounds exactly like it describes, with the keyboard playing a main role here with lush dreamy type chords which go along with Branch’s underwater sounding vocals. The part that stands out the most is the last minute in which the tempo is increased, and her voice soars, giving the impression that she is surfacing rapidly and then finally breaks the ocean’s surface.
Overall this is a great album, and I highly recommend it for those looking for something new to add to their music collection.
Recommended songs: Everywhere, All You Wanted, Sweet Misery, Goodbye To You, Drop In The Ocean.