Epic Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/24/1999
When I found out that Amanda Marshall had a new album coming out, I couldn't help but wonder if she was going to fall victim to the dreaded "sophomore slump." (For those of you who weren't paying attention, the term refers to when an artist's second album is a critical and commercial disappointment.) After all, she had worked hard to make a name for herself with her self-titled debut album, and had gained some moderate success on adult-contemporary radio with tracks like "Birmingham" and "Fall From Grace."
Then her latest album, Tuesday's Child, came out -- and proved not only that Marshall had beaten the dreaded curse, but had created an album even stronger than her debut, which is not an easy task for any artist to do.
The Canadian-born singer makes her first serious foray into songwriting, co-writing nearly all of the disc's 13 tracks. It's a gutsy move to make, but Marshall quickly proves she knows exactly what she's doing with her craft. From "Believe In You," the album's opening track, Marshall demonstrates how far she has come in just a few years.
If Marshall enjoyed the radio success she had with her first album, then Tuesday's Child should make her very happy. "Love Lift Me" is an incredibly powerful song with a strong rhythm track and an even stronger vocal performance. "Too Little, Too Late" is a moving story of a woman lamenting the loss of the love of her life -- all because she could not (or would not) make a commitment to him -- and would make an excellent first single.
Tuesday's Child contains many examples of Marshall's ability to tell a story through her songwriting - making me wonder why she chose to rely on other people's material on Amanda Marshall. "Right Here All Along" (co-written with Carole King) is one woman's discovery that the love and support she's needed has been right by her side, but she's been unable to see it until then. "Shades Of Grey" is a little more oblique, but seems to be a semi-autobiographical tale of her upbringing.
What is most impressive about Tuesday's Child is that there is not a single bad or disappointing track on the entire disc. As much as I was pleasantly surprised by Marshall's first outing a few years ago, I admit I went into Tuesday's Child expecting to be disappointed that it didn't live up to the first album. Instead, I ended up walking away from the disc confident in Marshall's skills as a songwriter and a musician. Her first album earned her significant attention; if there's any justice in this world, Tuesday's Child should make Marshall a superstar.
I had promised my wife -- who first got me into Marshall's work -- that she could have this disc when I was done with it. But I have to say that Tuesday's Child is such a good album, that I'm having second thoughts about giving away what is right now the best release of 1999.