Kathleen Edwards
Voyageur


2.5
average

Review

by Ryan Fitz USER (32 Reviews)
January 11th, 2012 | 7 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Color By Numbers..

Canadian Songwriting Kathleen Edwards has tweaked her alt-country sound with a heavy dose of 90’s rock flair and has come up with more of the same. That’s all you can really say about this album. The increased production is nice, fleshed out guitars, swirling ambience, organ swells, hazy strings, but it does little to make up for the tepid songwriting. To her detriment, Kathleen Edwards shows iron devotion to traditional pop (verse-refrain-repeat-bridge-refrain) format, and manages to suffocate anything otherwise potentially creative in the record. Not that the traditional song structure can’t work, Gaslight Anthems “59 sound” and Franz Fernidad’s self titled both respectively rode their fiery hooks for the entire album, and both created more then a memorable experience. Voyageur shares none of that consistency. You have songs that work beautifully, with an intoxicating sense of melody that is almost impossible to derail (“Chameleon/Comedian", “Change The Sheets”) But most songs are derailed all to easily, with hooks that are all-together not potent enough to carry the entire song, making most, if not all of it, forgettable.

The ultimate hook of the album is the inclusion of folk demi-god Justin Vernon. Which is really kind of tragic, because his addition to the record is practically meaningless. He turns out to be a tool gravely underused, withheld to distantly singing in the background, or oohing and awing uselessly, which is regrettable, because a stronger inclusion would of given the album the dynamic it needed. Instead, the album sticks to following its regimented formula. It’s not even a creative dead-end; that would be somewhat excusable, it’s songwriting that goes in circles.

Voyageur displays an artist so comfortable with her sound that she neglects to realize that she has become predictable, conventional, and downright uninspired. It’s not that any of the songs are awful, there are no cardinal sins broken in this album. There just isn’t anything remotely great about it either. I’m sure songs like these most likely created an undeniable spark in the combustible atmosphere of the coffeehouse, but the game has changed, and it takes more than this to earn recognition.



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user ratings (8)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
letsgofishing
January 11th 2012


903 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Shortest review I have ever written. how about that.

Streaming on NPR:
http://www.npr.org/2012/01/08/144623320/first-listen-kathleen-edwards-voyageur

Pos, neg, read, don't read, critique, joke, don't care, get at me bro.

Horsehammer
January 11th 2012


550 Comments


good review. but i disagree when u say "forgotten", but oh well

letsgofishing
January 11th 2012


903 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks for the POS man

but I'm not quite catching your drift. What rubs you wrong about it?

AsoTamaki
January 15th 2012


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is actually a very good album. Sure, it's nothing groundbreaking, but there is excellent lyricism to go along with the "intoxicating sense of melody" you mentioned. There isn't a bad song on here and the record overall is quite different from her previous material. The review doesn't really make much sense to be honest.

Where are all the Bon Iver enthusiasts? I can never understand this website...

fuckthatnoise
January 15th 2012


1479 Comments


yeah, i know Vernon was involved with this album. gonna try to get around to it at some point maybe.

letsgofishing
January 15th 2012


903 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Some songs have an intoxicating sense of melody..most songs were downright forgettable for me. And yeah, she
changed a lot about her sound, but the format remains exactly the same..for every song on this album.. So yeah, there
is nothing bad about this album, but like I said, I just found almost all of it pretty damn average and boring.

So yeah, Aso, we definitely disagree. nothing wrong with that. thanks for the feedback.

AsoTamaki
January 15th 2012


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean, at its core, it's a pop record so it's gonna be verse/chorus/verse/chorus nine times out of ten. If nothing else does, "For the Record" certainly deviates away from the formula. There's also a fair amount of variety with some mid-tempo rockers and then the more stripped-down songs.

Anyway, your whole argument seems to be that there are no bad songs, but they all follow the same format and/or are unmemorable. I suppose that could justify an average rating. I was looking at your 2 rating and the lack of anything truly negative being written. Fair enough.



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