Vanessa Carlton
Heroes and Thieves


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mikesn EMERITUS
January 19th, 2008 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Vanessa Carlton's third album is not only her most honest, likeable release, but also her strongest.

Despite being written and recorded by someone who essentially face planted out of the public eye and a record deal with the commercial flop that was Harmonium (which was a fairly dark album itself), Vanessa Carlton's 2007 album, Heroes & Thieves, sounds almost unnaturally uplifting. That isn't to say I'm complaining with the direction of the singer-songwriter's third record though, as no matter how excellent the confessional Harmonium was, it took more than a few listens to fully appreciate. Heroes & Thieves maintains the reflective tendencies of its predecessor, while better incorporating the catchy overtones of Vanessa's debut, Be Not Nobody. As result, Carlton has managed to craft an album that while perhaps not quite as complex as the pianist's sophomore effort, is a lot more likeable.

Opening with first single and unquestionable highlight, Nolita Fairytale, Heroes & Thieves doesn't waste any time in laying out the album's foundation. The piano orientated pop which Carlton has been playing since Be Not Nobody has never sounded so honest, nor so full. The optimistic, graceful piano melodies which make up a large majority of Heroes & Thieves (there's also some strings and synth spread throughout the forty-some minute runtime) are perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Carlton's repertoire, as they take up a variety of forms, ranging from straightforward and upfront, as in Nolita Fairytale and Hands On Me – two songs prime for the radio, to lush and relaxing (Spring Street comes to mind), to an almost sparse, background job in the likes of Come Undone. There's even an upbeat, fast-paced instrumental bridge in the otherwise quiet and contemplative ballad Home, which brings Carlton's classical piano training to the forefront. With that in mind, the greatest characteristic of Vanessa's abilities as a pianist is the way it works together with her singing. Her vocals have improved tenfold in the five years since Be Not Nobody. And while they aren't perfect, as the somewhat strained chorus of the title track reveals, they still help enhance the personal, heartfelt sound which the Carlton stresses throughout the album.

While Vanessa Carlton's third album doesn't exactly tread new ground, Heroes & Thieves features some of the American singer-songwriter's strongest, most earnest material. Building on the artistically pleasing elements of Harmonium and the catchy, sing-along qualities of the hit, Be Not Nobody, the album flows extremely well, making for a fun and at times relaxing listen. The only thing it really lacks is a cool cover ala Paint It, Black (Be Not Nobody) or Where the Streets Have No Names (Harmonium bonus track), but you can't have everything, I guess. While it's unlikely that Heroes & Thieves will revive Carlson's career commercially, it's still a solid album, and the best of her career. Too bad nobody will notice.



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user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jom
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2008


3106 Comments


You've got this beconcisewhiledescriptive thing down to a science, man - you'll be rewarded for it soon, I hope. Nice work as always.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
January 19th 2008


2806 Comments


I was going to do this but I couldn't get through the album. Didn't enjoy it at all.

Confessed2005
January 19th 2008


4513 Comments


I remember her song A Thousand Miles.

My friend parodied it lyrically once. Was very amusing.

plane
Emeritus
January 19th 2008


7306 Comments


This is so boring. I was going to review it as well but I just completely forgot about it.

But very good review, and wouldn't expect a longer review from this.

Altmer
January 20th 2008


5701 Comments


Mike should be staff.

rasputin
January 20th 2008


14968 Comments


He's far too good looking to be staff. Great review.
I liked the 1000 miles song, but I haven't actually heard anything else by her, except for that collaboration with the Counting Crows.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 20th 2008


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Don'tcha wish you were hot like me.



I liked the 1000 miles song, but I haven't actually heard anything else by her
I liked this a lot more than A Thousand Miles, but I'm not much of a fan of that album anyways.

You've got this beconcisewhiledescriptive thing down to a science, man
:cool:



Actually, I was a little concerned about the length, but I guess it seems alright.

plane
Emeritus
January 20th 2008


7306 Comments


White Houses is still her best.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 21st 2008


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's great, but I still prefer Nolita Fairytale and Hands on Me. : /

CushMG15
March 6th 2008


1810 Comments


Nice review. I really liked Harmonium and some of Be Not Nobody. Most of this was written with Stephen Jenkins (Third Eye Blind), so it doesn't surprise me that it's her most likeable disc. I'll have to get my hands on this somehow.

marcoaw
August 15th 2010


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this albumn, it's the best I've ever heard!

It's a very motivational record that show us a positive message with negative letters, it has pretty melodies that let ourselves drown while we hear. The first impression is not good, but, as the time goes by we slowly discover that the songs are perfect life soundtracks. I'm happy I hear that, I never get bored with Heroes & Thieves.

FeedingNetherlands
September 4th 2014


343 Comments


She's hot

SoccerRiot
September 9th 2017


5350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ incredibly fucking underrated too

theBoneyKing
September 9th 2017


15497 Comments


Her husband, John McCauley of Deer Tick, is much better ;-)

Digging: The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters



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