Bear Creek Reviewed

10 Jun

I really like the sound of this whole album.  It’s somehow. . .  different.  It feels like a good camping or hiking CD, and reminds me of those country/folk/oldies songs that my dad likes to sing aloud.  Yet it is still hip, and still very Brandi.  And though I didn’t absolutely LOVE every song on the CD (when does that happen anyway?  Rarely) I like Bear Creek as a whole.  I’ll go song by song, in order from my favorite to not-so-much:

That Wasn’t Me

One of my very favorite songs on the album–and in the top faves in her library.  When it was released prior to the rest of the CD, I listened a million times.  That said, I thought it was the one song that didn’t cohesively FIT with the rest of the tracks on the CD.  So I didn’t include it in faves for Bear Creek, looking at it as more of a single.  It has a different feeling and a sound unique to the rest.  I wonder why this was the single that was pre-released. . .  Just because I don’t feel it is a good representation of Bear Creek.  At any rate, no complaints about the song–I like the premise behind it and it’s beautifully sung/played.

Rise Again

I thought this was the definite standout track on Bear Creek.  And maybe I’m alone here, but it took a ridiculous amount of listens (5-6?) to figure out what lyrics she was singing–though I could tell immediately the words were sung with great passion.  I was struck right away with how much feeling emoted from this song.

Hard Way Home

This song kinda snuck by me upon my first few listens.  I guess all lyrically superior tunes are like that.  Lines like, “I just count the rain,” and the metaphor liking herself to the engine wishing for someone to be her wheel, well, how great is that?  It’s my second fave track on the album, and the one I think SHOULD have been released as the first single as best representation of Bear Creek.  It’s got the folksy-country thing goin’ on, the clapping, harmonies, a story, and heartfelt singing.  I especially like when the first stanza is reiterated in a syncopated way toward the end.  My 2nd favorite track because of the getting better the more you listen factor.

Raise Hell

Very Reminiscent of Johnny Cash–in a good way.  Sort of talking more than singing just as he does.  Except she really belts out the chorus.  This one is excellent because it’s feisty, it’s catchy, and it’s a good sing aloud.  Toward the top of my fave Bear Creek and Brandi songs.  I love the guitar when she starts to sign “turn me head. . .”  I’ll be belting this one out with Brandi when I attend one of her concerts.

A Promise to Keep

The harmony with the twins is astounding.  The Indigo Girls would be proud–I’m sure they ARE!  This one had gospel undertones that I like listening to, and reminds me of Appalachia for whatever reason.  It ties with the next listed track for 4th best.

What Did I Ever Come Here For

This song could speak to anybody.  It ties for fourth fave because it makes me think of some time or other in my own life each time I play it.  It’s about love.  It’s about rejection.  It’s about regret.  Every lesbian person could understand where Brandi is coming from in this track.  It’s something everyone has gone through.

I’ll Still be Here

The “. . .  if it all disappears. . .”  moves me.  It is probably awesome to see Brandi sing that “all” in concert–it’s really belted out.  It falls 5th, because of the passionate “all.”

Save Part of Yourself

This song is kind of neutral to me–it contributes well to the rest of the album, but I’m not certain it’s strong enough to stand alone.  The clapping, the woo, woo, woos, the sort of acoustic feel.  It’s like Brandi’s staple songs but in a style to fit the rest of the Bear Creek.  This track wasn’t an instant hit with me, but it’s growing on me as I listen.

100

Where are we on my favorites?  7th?  This song could easily be on one of Brandi’s earlier records.  It talks of dreams, and has a love-disappointment-aging sort of theme like a lot of her songs do.  Instrumentally, it is one of the weaker songs on the record.  Maybe a live jam-out session with the band would make it pop.  Lyrically, I like it though.

In the Morrow

This song is at a disadvantage.  It’s kind of a let down because it follows the power of “Rise Again.”  I think I would like this one more if it were earlier in the line-up.  Do I hear some kind of bango or mandolin or something?  I like that.  And I enjoy the combined singing in the chorus, and the hopefulness of the track.  But it’s just not as good as “Rise Again,” so it’s sort of a let down each time it follows. . .

Heart’s Content

With the sweet piano backing and the lilt in Brandi’s voice, this one reminds me of Doris Day.  Especially with the double-sing (is that a thing?) or Brandi harmonizing with herself, it is like a 1950s sweetly sung song.  It’s toward the bottom of the list only because it’s not very deep, emotional, or controversial–which also fits with the Doris Day thing she’s got going on.  And I just KNOW she wrote this to sing at symphony halls with that cello featured.  Can’t wait to hear it with The Seattle Symphony!

Keep Your Heart Young

Ok, Ok I really WANT to like this song.  This is the “new song” she played at the half of the concert we went to.  So it has sentimental value to me.  It’s in a story-telling style like your folkey-country songs, and I like those (I’m thinking “Big John” right now).  The message is to appreciate what you have and keep your innocence as long as possible, which I’m all-about.  The harmony vocals are nice.  Trouble is, I got tired of it really fast.  I blame it on the story–I felt like it was a childhood storybook that I re-read 6 times in a day, and could repeat without looking at the words.

Just Kids

Last place–but it doesn’t mean I HATE it.  I found the intro too long and quiet.  I’m sure it will be better with the orchestra playing it.  And the singing was too. . . breezy/dreamy.   I just wasn’t feeling it that much–I’ll bet there are a lot of people that dig this though.  I just wanted it to be. . .  Catchier?  Something. . .  It seemed tediously long every time it played.

So the recap?  I have been wearing out my Spotify by listening to Bear Creek.  A good musical effort, with very few complaints or criticisms from me.  Now, if Brandi Carlile will only come in my vicinity (a day before a day off work/school, please and thank you) to promote it–I’m there!!!

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