THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2015 |
Posted by: Erin Walsh
Now 35 years old and 13 years removed from the national zeitgeist surrounding "A Thousand Miles", Vanessa Carlton's 2015 release Liberman showcases her dimensional talent. Liberman's ten tracks are wholesome and consistent. The quick, cyclical finger-picked acoustic guitars echo early folk music, but the folky riffs are often paired with strings, electronic beats, and stacked harmonies so that I would not call this a folk album. It instrumentally crosses genre borders while her angelic voice tops it off to create an atmospheric pop sound. The 5-minute opening track "Take it Easy," literally eases you into the album, where Carlton proves she still is lyrically adept while continuing to write addictive melodies.
All of her piano work is still as impressive as her earlier work, but the entire piece is so much more multifaceted than any of her radio singles from the past. The single "Operator," was my favorite of the ten tracks. It's armed with a pulsing backbeat, strategically building up the song for the chorus. It has an edge to it, where the soft, celestial Carlton reveals a huskier depth to her voice that makes the song sound rougher than its undoubtedly precise and polished composition. The next striking track to me was "Nothing Where Something Used To Be." In an album lyrically packed with abstract illusions and metaphors, I was attracted to how lyrically straightforward this song is.
I will admit that you're the closest I have come
There's just something about you that I trust
I didn't say but I was sad to see you go
You went back to the ghost, I went back to what I know
Beyond the lyrics, this song takes vocal risks as well. While the layering metaphors add enormous weight to the album, this song does a bit more than just harmonizing. It's anthemic and moving, and definitely one that is worth listening to more than once. There's not a doubt in my mind that a comeback is on the way for Carlton, and it's called Liberman.