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Hotel Paper (Deluxe Edition)

Michelle Branch

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Album Review

Part of the appeal of Michelle Branch on her 2001 debut, The Spirit Room, was that she came across as a spirited normal girl with an enthusiasm for music. She wasn't teasingly sexy like Britney Spears, nor was she a brat like the then-unknown Avril Lavigne; she felt like a real teenager, something that was enhanced by her direct songs and earnest vocals, which were the furthest thing from flashy. Sure, The Spirit Room could be a little too polished at times, but it was tempered by her eagerness to make a record, so it turned out quite endearing. But like many second albums, her sophomore affair, Hotel Paper, finds Branch two years older and a whole lot more "mature," in the sense that any remnants of that adolescent passion have been removed as she positions herself as a serious singer/songwriter in the adult alternative vein. Branch remains appealing — her blend of pop and mild roots rock sounds good and she has a nice, plainspoken charm and straight-ahead voice. She duets with Sheryl Crow on the record's best track, "Love Me Like That". Taken on the surface, Hotel Paper is fine — it's big and shiny and it glides as easy as tunes on an adult alternative radio station on a summer's day. [The French version of the album includes bonus material.]

Biography

Born: 02 July 1983 in Flagstaff, AZ

Genre: Pop

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

Although she rose to fame during the teen pop era, Michelle Branch — who was 17 years old when her debut album, The Spirit Room, began its double-platinum run in 2001 — modeled her own songs after iconic alt-rock females like Lisa Loeb and Melissa Etheridge. Raised in Arizona, Branch sang throughout her childhood but didn’t pick up the guitar until her 14th birthday, when she received the instrument as a gift. Within a week, she’d written her first song. Branch’s parents eventually decided...
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Hotel Paper (Deluxe Edition), Michelle Branch
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