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Ben’s SARS – Natalie Prass

The following is based on a true story: I’m back, bitches!

Subway Album Review: Natalie Prass (self-titled)

Consulting my handwritten notes about this album, the first thing that pops out is the hastily scrawled “WOW!!” at the top of the page. This is equal parts soul (replete with those old-school big band arrangements played by real instruments and recorded on actual tape that I fell in love with as a pre-teen from the very first time I heard the opening blasts of The Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child” ) and Disney Princess (listen to “It Is You” without envisioning tiny woodland creatures frolicking at Prass’s feet, I dare you), with a few pinches of country thrown in for good measure (there is literally a song titled “My Baby Don’t Understand Me Anymore” and if that isn’t a country song title, then I don’t know what is). Put together, it earns a big gold star from me. This is one of the few albums from that Stereogum list (the one I arbitrarily decided to audit) that I’ve listened to more than once or twice.

One of the things I love about this album is that it acknowledges that the emotional impact and effectiveness of vocals are not directly correlated to volume (a fallacy proliferated by the overwhelming popularity of hollering outliers like Bruno Mars or Adele). Sometimes, innovative phrasing can be as effective as belting out a high note. The way the vocals interact with the instruments (“Christy” is sung just above a whisper, the vocals dancing with harp and strings) is, to me, another indication of how well crafted this album is. At the end, I find myself mysteriously back where I started: grinning ear to ear, thinking WOW!!

TL;DR Sorry for all the parenthetical tangents. Listen to this album, it’s great!

 

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