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Album Review: Rachel Platten – Waves

2 min read
photo: Sarah Barlow + Stephen Schofield

Rachel Platten’s career reads like a textbook account of a singer/songwriter seeking to make it in the unforgiving music industry. However, there are two points from which Platten’s story diverges from the norm. The first is that she ended up signed to a major label, Columbia, while the second is that she was already in her thirties when the label picked her up. Short of the occasional talent show contestant, the majors tend to gravitate towards those in, or barely out of, their teens when it comes to throwing their support behind a pop musician.

Following the success of her major label début Wildfire last year, powered by the breakthrough hit Fight Song, Platten releases her fourth album, Waves. Sadly, it doesn’t seem likely that Waves will follow Wildfire up the charts. Despite dispensing its thirteen tracks in a respectable forty-five minutes, and valiantly attempting to not simple rehash Wildfire’s sound or mimic every other pop song out at the moment, Waves proves to be a remarkably bland and forgettable affair.

Perfect for You opens the album and features a strong, funky bassline, as well as some interesting melodic syncopations, but Platten’s voice fails to rise to be more than adequate, a trait which permeates the album. Platten moves into a lower register on Loose Ends, which proves to be her most striking performance of the record, yet the song lacks that ineffable something that would make it special. A blend between Loose Ends and lead single, Broken Glass, might have made for a compelling listen, but it’s a combination that Waves never happens upon.