Artist Spotlight

Review: Vanessa Carlton, “Liberman”

No Comments 6 December 2015

Review: Vanessa Carlton, “Liberman”

Liberman is a wonderfully weird and captivating record from an artist who has found her authentic self. Carlton is remarkably easy on the ears, and leans toward a vintage folk vibe that’s augmented with unexpected detours.”

Artist: Vanessa Carlton

Album: Liberman

Genre: Piano Pop Folk

RIYL: Tori Amos, Lord Huron, Camera Obscura

Vanessa Carlton Liberman

Yes, she had a HUGE hit single about 14 years ago. Yes, that one. Yes, it feels like it will follow her around forever. Yes, she still has that beautiful, fortified, honey-tinged voice and plays the piano. Yes, she has moved on…and so must we. Because truly, you will want to hear this record and make it part of your next playlist. There is something magically weird about her new album, Liberman, that will become the new sound that lingers. In fact, after listening to this album, it’s not difficult to put that “other song” in the past and willingly walk into Carlton’s new sonic world.

“Take It Easy” is the first track, and it’s clear that Carlton is drawing from a vast well of experiences to create a wonderfully engaging intro to Liberman. Carlton pre-released a few of the tracks that appear here as part of an EP earlier in the year, and that was a smart move to allow everyone else to catch up to where she is musically. This is still Carlton, with her signature sweet-sounding vocals and expert piano playing, but the maturity of her songwriting is the star of the show. “Blue Pool” and “Willows” both have a Mamas and Papas/Fleetwood Mac vibe happening and they’re both wonderfully mystical and haunting. “Operator” and “Nothing Where Something Used to Be” offer up a huskier vocal and punctuated melodic performances. These are VERY interesting songs that made me wish for a dark, driving, atmospherically-heavy Carlton album in the future.

“Matter of Time” feels like it marks a shift in the latter part of the record; the front half, especially, feels more structured and traditional in the musical sense. This song, however, and the ones that follow feel atmospheric and unconventional. And that feels personal, like we’re digging further into Carlton’s psyche, especially on a tune like “Unlock the Lock,” and enjoying a quirkier musical side. It’s a subtle shift because these songs are all so well-structured and performed with such confidence it may take more than one listen to feel that movement. But I definitely found myself fascinated by Carlton’s vocal and rhythmic choices. She knows her way around a clever lyric, and a song like “River” is a wonderful example of her matured writing style.

Liberman is a wonderfully weird and captivating record from an artist who has found her authentic self. Carlton is remarkably easy on the ears, and leans toward a vintage folk vibe that’s augmented with unexpected detours. She is raw, provocative and enigmatic in such a refreshing way. She has something to say, and most definitely marches to her own beat on Liberman. Her talent allows her to be a chameleon, and she uses this power to her advantage to create some truly interesting tunes. You won’t be disappointed if you’re prepared to leave her past behind.


 


Vanessa Carlton: http://www.vanessacarlton.com/

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