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Be Not Nobody

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Album Review

Vanessa Carlton probably couldn't have happened without Alicia Keys, but that doesn't mean they sound the same. Both artists are preternaturally talented and write on keyboards, sounding much older than their years. The difference is, Carlton pretty much revels in her advanced years, creating a record that recalls the lush ambition of Keys, but also the soul-searching of Fiona Apple and the precise intricacies of Rick Wakeman. Certainly, this wasn't something she planned to evoke, but the end result is pretty impressive all the same, because it's so well crafted, from both Carlton and her producer, Ron Fair, who doesn't stop her from taking leaps that could potentially prove embarrassing. And there are embarrassing moments on her debut, Be Not Nobody, the most notable of those is a ham-fisted, melodramatic cover of the Stones' "Paint It, Black," which for all the world feels like a single dictated by the studio. That's the nadir of the album, but the rest is charmingly ambitious and often quite accomplished. Take the lead single, "A Thousand Miles" — as it moves from its solo piano opening to bombastic orchestral-backed choruses, the result isn't overwhelming, it's sweet, multi-layered, and appealing. And most of her debut album follows that lead, often overflowing with soaring strings, intimate pianos, crooned vocals, and pretty melodies, yet it all gels because Carlton shows the potential of a songwriter who can convey her emotions through her songcraft. Sure, some of Be Not Nobody is naïve, but much of it's well crafted and nearly all of it is endearing; it's a rare debut that is quite enjoyable in its own right yet is almost more enticing because of what it suggests that she could do next.

Customer Reviews


Wow...what an album... lyrically and musically, Vanessa is one of the most talented artists out there....go buy this album....

A Pure Connection

I like this album quite a bit, not only is the cover lovely, but Vanessa's voice can really connect to her audience. Her voice isn't outstanding, but that's what makes it special. If you look around you, very few people can sing like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston or Celine Dion, so their voices are kinda average. Since her voice is around that level, slightly above, she can connect to others because: 1. they'll be able to sing along more easily, 2. it's easier on the ears most of the time, and 3. it's like hearing everyday normal people tell a story or give out a message. And I think that's pretty magical. Here's some of my opinions of some of her songs: A THOUSAND MILES~ this song is really pretty. With a touch of near-desperation in her voice, I can picture a girl staring up in the sky on a beautiful day and all she can think about is her special person if she can reach him. This song is about a girl living an ordinary stressful life, and through all the hard and good time, she wishes if she could spend even one night with the one she loves. Romantic, eh? ^_^ PRETY BABY~ her slightly girlish and childish voice gives the perfect touch to a song that pops images of a young child living a carefree life, and lively colours that makes a smile curl to your lips. RINSE~ this song is a little downing, and rain drops and puddles come to my mind. About a girl who needs to "rinse" her problems away and start fresh, I think this song can touch several teens. It touched me at least. ^_^ TWILIGHT~ this song, musically performed by violins I believe in most parts, is also a little depressing. But, young Vanessa Carlton's looks connect to people, and so does this song. It will certainly suit sad moments in life, but, as the twilight does, it also contains a tiny tinkle of light still in it. Hope this review helped! *Note that review was based on the previews of the song when you click on it*


It's just a great album, great voice, great songs!


Born: August 16, 1980 in Milford, PA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Along with Michelle Branch and Nelly Furtado, Vanessa Carlton helped usher in a new era of female songwriters during the early 2000s. "A Thousand Miles," her first single, was one of the biggest songs of 2002, topping the pop charts in America and cracking the Top Ten in England. None of her subsequent singles came close to matching that song's success, but Carlton continued releasing albums into the following decade, fine-tuning a sweeping, cinematic pop sound that featured her vocals and piano...
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