Michelle Branch
Broken Bracelet


3.0
good

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
August 8th, 2011 | 25 replies | 9,534 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What did Michelle Branch’s music sound like before the major labels found her? It turns out that she was just a girl that enjoyed playing mellow folk-influenced rock and she was pretty good at it.

In 2001 Michelle Branch released her major label debut, The Spirit Room. It was easily one of the better mainstream pop rock albums to be released that year, and it eventually went on to sell over two-million copies. Most fans never really seemed to realize, though, that The Spirit Room was actually her second album. Her debut album, Broken Bracelet, had been released a year earlier on an independent label and had actually been in existence since 1998. The album was self-produced, financed by Michelle Branch’s parents and consisted of songs that she had written as a teen – including four that would eventually be re-worked for The Spirit Room. As might be expected, Broken Bracelet is a different album when compared to her major label releases. It is still catchy, but it lacks that glossy studio-pop sheen while featuring a more prominent folk influence.

These differences are made apparent almost immediately when opening track “If Only She Knew” begins. Fans will recognize the song title from The Spirit Room, but they are definitely coming from different places. The original version found on this album is slowed down considerably, and consists solely of Michelle and her guitar over a simple percussive loop. Without all the overdubs and layering that the song would receive on The Spirit Room, Michelle’s natural vocal talent shines through and proves that she didn’t need the studio gloss that got added to later albums. The other three songs that eventually found their way to The Spirit Room are presented in much the same way – just Michelle Branch and her guitar with minimal additional accompaniment. In fact, most of the album follows that same basic blueprint – Michelle’s vocals, her guitar and possibly a subtle keyboard melody and/or simple percussive loop. While it certainly isn’t a blueprint that is capable of providing the instant hooks of her future releases, it is still one that results in some great songs. In fact, the only real dud is the track “Paper Pieces” due to a truly flat vocal performance on Michelle’s part.

Let’s be honest, despite the quality tracks, Broken Bracelet is only going to appeal to a limited subset of Michelle Branch’s fans. It’s simply a little too rough around the edges for most of the people that fell in love with her later albums. Michelle’s vocals don’t always hit the notes they’re aiming for and the music shares much more in common with stripped-down folk than big-time pop rock, but it’s still a good album. It’s an album that mainly features Michelle Branch and her guitar, and it does so in a much more natural setting than she has ever had since. With the inclusion of four songs that would eventually be re-worked for The Spirit Room, Broken Bracelet is also a rare glimpse into Michelle’s musical roots and might even explain why she eventually dumped the pop for country. At the end of the day, Broken Bracelets isn’t going to blow anybody away but it’s still a good album that showcases Michelle’s talents without any of the big-budget influences that would appear later.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
August 8th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't written a review in almost six weeks, so I decided to review something older and a bit obscure in order to kind of 'shake the dust off' with minimal notice.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Acanthus
August 8th 2011



9537 Comments


Hmm cool, I like when artists release their work independently/it's self produced.

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

Willie
Moderator
August 8th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I didn't know what to expect, but it's on Spotify so I checked it out. Not bad. It proves that she can write her and play her own songs unlike a lot of big-time pop artists.

Acanthus
August 8th 2011



9537 Comments


It's always a nice feeling to find out those little tidbits concerning an artist, especially one in such a hit-filled genre.

WashboardSuds
August 8th 2011



4990 Comments


good review, I had no idea this album existed.

her later 2 albums were pretty decent

Ending
August 8th 2011



1892 Comments


Cool review. I probably won't check this out, but it makes me wonder what other pop artists did, if anything, before they hit it big.

It seems like these days though that pop artists can appear literally overnight, in pretty much any way.

jdennis31
August 9th 2011



6511 Comments


this is an excellent review considering it made me want to listen to a michelle branch album. now i gotta see if its worth it

toxin.
August 9th 2011



12162 Comments


This is old. Awesome review; I was actually expecting a new album by her. She's one of the pop acts I don't mind listening to, and I really like "Everywhere." I still don't think I'm going to listen to this though.

Willie
Moderator
August 9th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@jdennis31: Well then, report back ;)

It seems like these days though that pop artists can appear literally overnight, in pretty much any way.
I think that's how it normally works. They discover someone that can sing and is kind of hot and then they get a team of songwriters to fit some songs to her voice (or just use ones that other artists rejected already).


iFghtffyrdmns
August 9th 2011



7047 Comments


nice write up trey

what was/were her famous song/songs again?

Willie
Moderator
August 9th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Everywhere" and "All You Wanted" from her The Spirit Room album.

iFghtffyrdmns
August 9th 2011



7047 Comments


Everywhere ahhh yes that's the one!

cause you're EVERRRYYYYWHERREEE TOOO MEEEEE
and when I close my eyeessss it's youuu I seeee


Yeah, that was probably unnecessary, but I figured since I'm going to now have that stuck in my head all day, anyone else that reads this ought to as well.

Willie
Moderator
August 9th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's a twisted thing to do to someone.

Willie
Moderator
August 9th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Same here. I wish she would release something a little less country ;)

Parallels
August 10th 2011



6641 Comments


oh shit! my girlfriend loves her

imaginary pos'd

Willie
Moderator
August 10th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

She must have good taste.

Parallels
August 10th 2011



6641 Comments


Yes, and I'm glad she does.

Willie
Moderator
August 10th 2011



15897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's good... it would be a weird thing to be upset about ;)

Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7163 Comments


I nearly had a fit back then - I thought she'd released a new album without my knowledge. Well-played Willie ;)

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2011



28369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

MARRY ME

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo



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