Gabrielle Aplin
English Rain


3.5
great

Review

by Santiago191 USER (4 Reviews)
May 16th, 2013 | 20 replies


Release Date: 05/13/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Every song on English Rain I loved. With only a few mishaps, it is definitely above average and a fantastic debut album.

I’m not going to be a hipster and pretend I discovered Gabrielle Aplin before I was bloody born or something! I discovered her when I heard her rendition of ‘The Power of Love’ on the John Lewis advert. I then watched the full thing on YouTube which amazed me. I then followed her and listened to her music on YouTube. I purchased a signed copy of her single 'The Power of Love' which became No. 1, I saw her live in Bristol, and finally pre-ordered a signed copy of her new album: English Rain. I already found her to be a wonderful artist. Is this sentiment maintained with the release of her Debut album?

When I first hear any new song, I look out for the lyrics the most. I want to hear meaning in them; that is the most important thing to me. English Rain definitely contains meaningful lyrics. This is evident in 'Ready to Question' “I’m ready to question, that life is a blessing, Give me a sign, am I following blind?” We all have ‘first world problems’ (a term that’s been going around lately) and these lyrics can be relatable. They get the listener thinking deeper about what the lyrics could mean and what they mean to them personally. I feel that sometimes there the bad in life outweighs the good so that brings me to question if it is a blessing. The following blind part is relatable because I’m unsure if I am taking the right path academically – as many teenagers feel. Other examples of meaning are in 'Home' - “’Cause they say home is where your heart is set in stone… It’s not just where you make your bed, As long as we’re together does it matter where we go?” and Start of Time: “I’m an atom in the sea of nothing, looking for another to combine”.

What I find even more of a meaningful statement is that Gabrielle writes her own lyrics. This is what a true musician does. I understand if someone has an amazing voice but cannot write, however allow the writers to take the credit. People admire actors but the writers in film still get recognition; it doesn't seem to be the same in the Music Industry. She writes most of her songs with Nick Atkinson.

Meaning is spread throughout Gabrielle’s lyrics on English Rain but the significance of them depend on how relatable they’re to you (therefore how much you connect with them emotionally). Lyrics are open to interpretation – they’re not necessarily fact – unless the lyricist explains their writings. Some may view all of Gabrielle’s songs to be about lovers/partners. However, ‘Keep on Walking’ (“I feel so much better when you’re not around, there’s no one to kick me while I’m down”) could be to anyone in life that is pulling you down or pestering you. ‘How Do You Feel Today?’ and ‘Alive’ also have no strong lyrics that indicate a lover being involved.

I noticed there are some literary techniques being used: similes and metaphors (“We’re just a box of souvenirs”, “Like a thief in the light…”); personification (“The night has a thousand eyes”); and imagery. This is used to bring more depth to Gabrielle’s writing. Although GCSE level techniques, these do increase the written quality of the songs. Take Rihanna’s 'Diamonds' (“Shine bring like a diamond”) as the opposite; the entire song is based around that one simile – Gabrielle uses these techniques to move the story of the songs along rather that fixate on them as the central theme.

The only negative to the lyrics is they can get a little repetitive upon reflection. The only song where I felt the repetitiveness become a little too much is in 'Start of Time'. “It’s like the sun came out” is repeated God knows how many times.

Gabrielle’s vocals are beautiful. Her general style is high pitched which makes her voice sound sweet and soft. Strength and power are traits that flow through the vocals when needed, so do not discount this; Gabrielle has mastered her voice – she knows how to control it very well. However, as listenable as her vocals are, they’re not phenomenal. She cannot perform the vocal acrobatics of, let’s say, Jessie J and isn't exactly as diverse as a rock vocalist. There are points where I felt that if Gabrielle just went all out with passion it would have made the song so much more intense. This is notable in ‘Salvation’ at about 2:50 – the violin and other instruments build suspense, getting higher and higher, and set Gabrielle up to hold a powerful, high, satisfying note at the end of the line... she merely drops the note lower, and then off… With all this said, Gabrielle uses diction professionally as a singer (and uniquely) which makes listening to her easy and desirable.

I can tell that Gabrielle and the musicians playing alongside her, on English Rain, know what they’re doing. The traditional structure of a song has been used with Common time (a time signature of 4/4). However enough hooks and variations/additions have been used to keep the listener interested. At times there are violins and pianos and backing vocals to accompany Gabrielle. This all adds up to make an album that is worthy of more than one listen which also doesn't get boring after one listen. At the end of ‘Salvation’ and ‘Start of Time’ there are beautiful and thrilling instrumental compositions.

My only problem, with the way the album has been put together, is the difference in the way tracks sound. I do not mean variation in the way various songs sound. I mean the quality of the recording. Make no mistake, they all sound professionally recorded. However, because 'Home' and 'Please Don’t Say You Love Me' were on EPs before (though it sounds like backing vocals have been added on each) and 'The Power of Love' was released as a single, in its own right, when transitioning songs, different recording qualities are noticeable which disrupts the flow of the album as a whole. In 'Alive' and 'Salvation' it sounds like vocal enhancement has been used (especially when compared to the other songs).

I bought the deluxe album and received an extra CD. This contained two wonderful songs: 'Evaporate' and 'Wake Up with Me'. I feel 'Wake Up with Me' should have been on CD1 because Gabrielle uses a different tone; it’s softer and fits the lyrics well. Apart from these additional songs, though, CD2 is quite pointless. It contains recordings from ‘the RAK sessions’. However, nothing is raw; it just shows that she can record a song in studio quality in one take. Gabrielle is great live so your best bet is to watch YouTube videos.

When I receive a new album I usually listen to it once completely and then go back to the best songs straight after. Every song on English Rain I loved and I had to listen to it, completely, twice in a row. With only a few mishaps, English Rain is definitely above average and a fantastic debut album, from someone who came from writing meaningful songs in her bedroom (at 14) and displaying it to the world on YouTube.


user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
May 16th 2013


16147 Comments


I love her stuff. I didn't even know she had a new release out.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Santiago191
May 16th 2013


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's taken her a while to get an album out but it was worth the wait
You should check it out.

Just want to note to everybody, this was taken from a website I'm a part of: The Nerd Cabinet.
http://www.thenerdcabinet.com/?gamepress_reviews=gabrielle-aplin-english-rain-debut-album-review

Sanders
May 16th 2013


2361 Comments


Wow, expected this to be a combination of her EPs, glad to see it's all new

will be checking this out

silentstar
May 16th 2013


2282 Comments


would you say this is her best release?

DegausserGuernica24
May 17th 2013


1134 Comments


How the fuck did this get on the front page of Sputnik?

Santiago191
May 17th 2013


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I appreciate that "0 of 2 thought this review was well written" but can those who contributed toward this rating please explain why they felt this review wasn't well written?

Is it because you do not agree with my score? Or you do not like the artist? It seems every post I make to this website, I do not get constructive feedback.

DegausserGuernica24
May 17th 2013


1134 Comments


Well, for one thing, the first paragraph is basically a chronological timeline of your experience listening to Gabrielle Aplin, which has nothing to do with the album, and from a reader's standpoint, it's fucking boring.

Second, you think that just because she is using literary elements automatically makes her an incredible songwriter, even though literary elements are ESSENTIAL when songwriting is concerned.

Third, chill the fuck out with the personal pronouns. Almost every paragraph in this review is just solely based off of your point of view.

Do you now understand why you're getting neg'd so much?

Santiago191
May 17th 2013


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fair first point.

I never said she was an incredible song writer, just that her lyrics are meaningful. I was comparing that to the general pop charts and saying how she uses the techniques without basing her entire song off of it, which is good.

That's what I'm going for - to give people my personal opinions and views of what I'm reviewing. I cannot state facts about the album; they're my opinions because music (and other forms of Art) is subjective.

Thank you for the feedback
I will take these comments on board.

Although you were kind of aggressive with it and I wonder how valuable your opinion is considering you have submitted only 1 review.

DegausserGuernica24
May 17th 2013


1134 Comments


Just because I've submitted only one review doesn't mean my opinions aren't as valuable whatsoever. I've only submitted one review because I have school and I have no time to write reviews.

Santiago191
May 17th 2013


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay, that's fair enough.

Seriously though, thank you for your feedback.


SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 17th 2013


16917 Comments


I really like all of her albums/EPs. Didn't even know this was out.

Average review, but I'm just glad someone did it. Props for helping give her some exposure...she's definitely up-and-coming.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

DegausserGuernica24
May 17th 2013


1134 Comments


Much obliged.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 17th 2013


16917 Comments


This is your first review? Welcome to the site!

I'll pos this one. Everyone's first write-up is shaky, just keep at it and try to remember to have fun with it. If writing about music is something you enjoy, then I think you'll end up enjoying this site a lot.

DegausserGuernica24
May 17th 2013


1134 Comments


Sowing, who are you talking to?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 17th 2013


16917 Comments


Oh whoops I thought you wrote the review. I only skimmed the thread.

Basically nevermind.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2013


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Following 3 promising EPs of acoustically driven indie-pop, English singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin releases debut LP 'English Rain'. Once more, the focus is rightly on Aplin's sweet & charming voice, although the backing instrumentation is predictably beefed up. The usual acoustic guitar & piano are aided by a full band, as well as occasional strings. Simplicity is both a blessing & a curse here, with the 20 year old rarely getting out of her comfort zone, as the somewhat pedestrian pacing sinks in. "Pleasant" might be the best adjective for 'English Rain', but it's of the good kind. Recommended Tracks: Panic Cord, Human, Home & Please Don't Say You Love Me.

JS19
July 8th 2013


4407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Damn. I thought this would be a little less 'soulless' than this

Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus

JS19
July 16th 2013


4407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Plus her version of The Power Of Love is good, but it just got stripped of all the gut wrenching emotion of the original which kinda sucks...

treeqt.
August 20th 2013


11529 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

a

Digging: Zhu Xiao-Mei - Scarlatti: Piano Sonatas

treeqt.
August 25th 2013


11529 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the deluxe edition live tracks are pretty good. really loving home. a couple other tracks are also pretty good. she's no stevenson laura tho



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