Review : Rachael Sage - Haunted By You
PopmattersRachael Sage is a female singer-songwriter who has virtually nothing to distinguish her from any other radio-ready female singer-songwriter. This proves to be an overwhelming problem on Haunted By You and she struggles to find a distinctive element throughout, though to her credit she does try at various points. Unfortunately, every time there’s even so much a glimpse of uniqueness or originality it’s instantly watered down and marginalized to the same conventionally repetitious and bland radio pop song about heartache and heartbreak. By the closing song there’s really no reason to go back and listen to any of the songs here because you could walk over to the radio and switch it to the most popular pop station and hear the same impersonal song three times in a seven-song cycle.
Beginning with the easygoing melodies and atmosphere of “Invisible Light” and “Abby Would You Wait”, Sage lays virtually all her tricks on the table and none of them seem impassioned. This problem is an increasingly difficult one for the more laid-back sect of singer-songwriters to figure out how to solve. For every Brett Dennen there’s 1,500 Jack Johnsons. While Sage certainly doesn’t fall into the beach-side stoner category, that lack of distinction does plague her. During Haunted By You‘s third track, “California”, she does pull out some fairly interesting tricks but even then, they feel like retreads. There’s a nice orchestral arrangement that weaves its way through a bright keyboard part and horrendously trite lyrics. That it’s one of Haunted By You‘s best tracks is a severe problem.
“The Sequin Song” continues Sage’s over-dramatic vocal approach and frighteningly clichéd lyrics. Nearly every problem that Haunted By You has can be evidenced in this single song. While it is lushly arranged, the song itself doesn’t warrant it. “Performance Art” starts off like a Vanessa Carlton song and eventually evolves into another over-dramatic song with frustratingly bland lyrics. “I don’t need to tell you how to complicate this, you already know just how to break my heart” goes the chorus. It’s stereotypical qualities only increase in number as the song progresses, rendering no reactions except winces. “Everything” separates the piano from the mix and, musically, is gorgeous. However, when Sage’s incredibly erratic lyrics are added to it, it becomes less impacting and more frustrating. There are a few turns of phrases that do hint at potential talent but there’s also lines that we’ve all heard a million times before, equaling out to disappointingly average....full text
SeattlepiRachael Sage is not your run of the mill June/moon singer/ songwriter. You hear a line like "today is the first day of the rest of my. . ." and, if you're expecting the cliché, forget it, not going to happen. Sage is a poet. The ordinary image is not where she's going. For her ideas and emotions, she needs "bittersweet Swarovski," "a big old purple sequin. . . tearing up" her art, "one speck of mica shining on the ground." In a lover's touch she hears the "Song of Solomon. She searches for meaning in a "dead sea of ill-fated dreaming." Without love you're "one mitten in Grand Central's lost and found."
Luckily, Sage's latest album Haunted by You comes complete with a full set of lyrics for the 12 original songs. You'll want them. Listening won't be enough; you'll want them in front of you to ponder while you listen and think about long after. Not that there's anything wrong with the music: she has created a passionate song cycle that plumbs the emotional depths of love found and love lost. "I fell recklessly in and out of love multiple times while writing this record," she explains on her website. "I broke a couple hearts.and I also had my heart broken pretty badly." Broken hearts have long been the stuff of pop music; Sage's gift, and she has one, is to take "what oft was thought," as one poet past has put it, "but ne'er so well expressed."...full text
ThecnmchronicleArtist: Rachel Sage and the Sequins | Album: Haunted by you | Label: Impress Records | Sounds like: Mumford and Sons, Sarah McLachlin, Regina Spektor, Ani Difranco
The tenth album by singer/songwriter Rachael Sage is hard proof that this indie artist’s star continues to rise. The deceptively titled album “Haunted By You” is not break-up themed, but is instead about passion and choosing between passions.
Through her music, and especially this album, Rachael conveys herself as the quirky big sister who breaks into song every time she shares a bit of learned wisdom or one of life’s secrets. Plus, she seems like she’d be a blast at a party.
The combination of well-balanced accompaniment and carefully chosen phrasing has become a trademark of Rachael’s music. The guitar – which Rachael plays herself – is remarkable and a welcome new addition to her musings. It’s also exhilarating to hear her unusual word choice – breathing new life into out-of-fashion words is the mark of a great lyricist.
Nearly everything on the album is perfect, but the lyrically alluring “Abby would you wait” and the foot-tapping “Hey Na” are the best songs on the disc. Abby is a beautiful ballad about distance and affection. “Hey Na” is a celebration of honest and complete personal relationships with a very catchy tune....full text
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