Brandi Carlile — Bear Creek
This article was originally posted on Adobe and Teardrops
Let’s not mince words: Bear Creak is Brandi Carlile’s finest effort yet, and I’m not even done listening to it for the first time. It’s much more Americana-inflected than The Story, which will never ever be something I complain about.
Here. Let me tell you why I love these songs as I listen to the album.
“Hard Way Home” — Killer opening track. Sets the tone for the entire album: stories of struggle and redemption.
“Raise Hell” — Brandi continues to pummel us with her raw determination. I want to stand in a barn and stomp my feet.
“Save Part of Yourself” — Much more lighthearted. The beat, hooks, and group chanting are almost a little too twee, but we can forgive her this time. Brandi’s better than those other indie rock hacks, and we all know it.
“That Wasn’t Me” — This was the first single off the album, and the first piano-based track on the album. I didn’t love it, and that’s why I didn’t pre-order the album. But the entire second verse is worth typing up: “When you’re lost, you’ll toss/Every penny that you’d ever trust/And you’ll hide from your God/Like He ever turns His back on us/And you’ll fall all the way to the bottom/And land on your own knife/And you’ll learn who you are/Even if it doesn’t take your life.”
“Keep Your Heart Young” — Light-hearted and sweet.
“100” — The first track I’m kind of meh about. The lyrics are smart but I’m just not that into the instrumentation.
“A Promise to Keep” — A sweet song reminiscing about a former lover. Not looking forward to being able to relate to it, but I know it’ll comfort me when that time comes.
“I’ll Still Be There” — It’s pretty much about what it sounds like. It’s not grabbing me the way the first few songs did.
“What Did I Ever Come Here For” — Piano-pop song about trying to rekindle a flame. Reminds me of Barenaked Ladies’ “Home.”
“Heart’s Content” — D’awwwwwwwwwwwwww. Made for a rom-com soundtrack. Not necessarily damning with faint praise here.
“Rise Again” –This is more of a rocker. Some banjo in there but still distinctly Brandi Carlile. I guess I’m on a redemption kick but the album has started to pick up again for me.
“In The Morrow” — We seem to be closing out with an Americana vibe here. A song about walking out and feeling good about it. Since “Just Kids” seems to be some kind of bonus track, I’d say its theme about finding ways to carry on is a good finish to the album. Just wished it had ended as strong as it began.
“Just Kids” — Initially inclined to dislike this, but that’s just ‘cuz it starts slow. It’s quite possibly the most epic songs about youth I’ve heard.