Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Records We Missed:: Martha Wainwright I Know You're Married, But I've Got Feelings Too

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It’s almost impossible to talk about Martha Wainwright without mentioning her family and her past. Whether it’s her parents, extended family or her super talented brother, Martha’s career will always be judged against the catalog of her family tree. It’s a shame too, because I Know You're Married, But I've Got Feelings Too shows that she can stand on her own two feet, aptly balancing the heartache and power the title suggests with an elegant, gentle touch.

Martha possesses a beautiful voice, one that exudes strength but can be as subtle as a gentle breeze. On her new record, Wainwright proves how effortlessly she can power through complex (admittedly, sometimes a bit cluttered) arrangements or hold the spotlight on more straight ahead pop songs (You Cheated On Me) and moody, atmospheric tracks like Niger River, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. Martha proves she’s a perfectly capable composer and dominating front woman. Even with a celebrity cast of supporting players, Martha stands front and center, even as she bends and shapes her voice to fit countless different styles.

She also shows that she doesn’t need to dive into the past to find compelling subject matter. Instead of airing dirty laundry (although the heartbreak she delivers on Jimi when she admits, “sometimes I feel like my Dad, for leaving her all sad and alone” hits hard), she makes you sympathize for the most unlikely characters. She wrote 12 of the songs on the record, and the lyrics are almost as compelling as her voice.

Bleeding All Over You is a beautiful song, laced with strings, backing vocals and ear pleasing acoustic but it’s how Martha paints the "other woman" that is so compelling. Wainwright has the unique ability to turn a phrase without making it seem forced or rehearsed. The gentle sounds of Hearts Club Band provide the perfect backdrop for her pen, as the four-minute track forces you to lean closer and listen intently as you try to absorb her words.

This record has been out for the better part of the year, and I feel bad for missing it. Thankfully, the rest of the music world has embraced her talent long before we did.

Posted at 10:38 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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