For me and for many, Michelle Branch was a huge part of my teenage years. Falling in love with her music when she appeared in the episode Tabula Rasa from Tvs Buffy The Vampire Slayer performing her hit and beautifully emotive song Goodbye To You at The Bronze, I became obsessed. The Spirit Room album holds so many great memories and is still one of my favourite albums of all time as is the follow up album Hotel Paper.
Michelle has had various releases since then including her side project as one half of country music duo The Wreckers alongside Jessica Harp. Stand Still, Look Pretty the only studio album from The Wreckers is one of my favourite country albums of all time and should have a lot more recognition than it has. Leave The Pieces is one of the best pop country songs of all time in my opinion and Michelle and Jessica’s voices blended so beautifully together and were at the same time very similar and I really miss them as a duo.
I know that I am not alone when I say that the return of Michelle Branch has been long overdue and is also very welcomed.
The new album Hopeless Romantic is quite a bit different to the Michelle I am used to but not in a bad way. Michelle is older now, has had different experiences and her style was bound to have changed somewhat. This album falls more into an electro pop/alternative pop direction but I still love it. Michelle’s voice has certainly matured and strengthened over the years. I don’t think her vocals stand out as distinctively as they did in her previous albums which is a shame. I felt her older music was so unique and you would know right away if it was her.
With the popularity of electro pop these days with artists such as Chvrches and Taylor Swifts 1989 and my favourite Imogen Heap/Frou Frou this album should fit in quite snuggly and will hopefully reach the audience it needs. Some of the music has a slight 80’s vibe to it which I really enjoy, especially in the songs Heartbreak Now and Living A Lie. The album does have elements of all the above artists sounds and also reminds me of Little Boots and a bit of Marina and The Diamonds.
The debut single Hopeless Romantic has a very memorable sound to it and is certainly a stand out track in its hypnotic , trippy way and has the same kind of feel as Madonna’s Ray Of Light album.
Knock Yourself Out is probably the closest song to her old sound. I love this song and it could almost fit on either of her previous albums and her vocals are strongest during this song.
Michelle could always get away with being country slightly before The Wreckers and before I completely throw away any elements of the genre within this album you could argue that Not A Love Song has a hint of country to it but in a very pop way.
I do really enjoy this album but do feel I need to give it a few more listens before I LOVE it. Whilst I completely understand and support Michelle’s change of direction musically, I do miss her old sound and hope that when she tours here, she will still play some of her old music. That being said, this album will undoubtedly translate fantastically in a live setting as most electro pop does.
Michelle will be touring the UK in September and I for one, cannot wait. Info below.
Hopeless Romantic by Michelle Branch