REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/29/2008
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This was one of those rare cases where multiple influences in my life came together to present me with an album. It is no secret to anyone who visits this site that I love piano-based rock/pop. What’s that, Bareilles plays the piano, and is rock/pop? Check. Secondly, I had a friend constantly getting on my case to give this record a spin; normally I don’t give in but that can only last so long. Finally, I caught about 30 seconds of the lead single, “Love Song,” on a commercial on TV.
The combination of these three events created some sort of black hole that I was sucked into, and thank god for that. As far as pop/rock albums go, Little Voices is hard to beat. Bareilles has Big League talent, and in six months has begun to demonstrate it.
The proceedings kick off with the utterly infectious lead single “Love Song.” Ben Folds would be proud, as Bareilles pounds out chord after chord, wailing away with such sincerity. It accurately sets the table for what is to come; none of what the album offers is new by any means. However, it is well-executed, which makes all the difference.
A great deal of the buzz surrounding this record centered on the vocals. Don’t get me wrong, Bareilles has a nice enough voice and on occasion belts out notes on par with the Aguileras of the world (see “Come Round Soon,”) but to be perfectly frank, most of the album finds her with average pipes.
Not to sound like a broken record, but what sells this album is the performance and execution. The shifts in styles are impressive, from the “Bennie And The Jets” tinged “Love On The Rocks,” to the straight up Ben Folds riffing of “Fairytale.” There’s a hook in practically every song, something that any listener could find enjoyable.Sometimes, people really don’t understand that a great pop album just doesn’t grow on a tree. There are thousands of terrible pop records that come out every year, and are subsequently forgotten and tossed aside into the dustbin of history. Little Voices is not some mind-blowing work that will go down in history, that much is certain. But if you're looking for a top-to-bottom strong piano-rock album, you could do much worse.
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