Review: Rachel Platten "Be Here"

Sometimes when you hear music live before listening to the album, the album can be a letdown, either because it doesn't sound as good, or it sounds too different from the live performance.

That is definitely not the case with Rachel Platten's debut album "Be Here", which sounds amazing in any form.

Interestingly, when I went to import the CD into my iTunes library, Gracenote had tagged the genre as "Country/Folk". I'm not sure I'd call it that. In fact, after listening to the album multiple times, I'm not exactly sure what genre to place Platten in, aside from "good music that you should totally take the time to listen to." I spend so much time listening to so many over-produced artists that its refreshing to hear an album like "Be Here", where the music that the artist is creating is what's being pushed to the forefront. Platten's voice is strong without being overwhelming. There's a sweetness that comes across in every song, but that doesn't prevent her from hitting the lower notes just as well, particularly on "53 Steps," probably the highlight of the album.

In place of the drum machine that dominates my iTunes Library these days, Platten uses strong piano skills to back her vocals. She manages to change up the style from song to song seamlessly, going with a more upbeat tempo on songs like "Nothing Ever Happens" and "1,000 Ships", an almost-R&B sound on "Don't Care What Time It Is" and a bit of a jazz/pop sound on "You Don't Have To Go" and "All I Seem To Do". Platten either wrote or co-wrote nine of the 10 songs on the album, and there isn't a clunker in the mix. This is truly an ALBUM, not just a collection of singles mixed in with filler.

Buy "Be Here" on iTunes or Amazon.com.

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