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Album Review

On her second album, Harmonium, singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton enlists her boyfriend, Stephan Jenkins — best-known as the frontman of the popular post-grunge band Third Eye Blind — as a producer and co-songwriter, and his presence doesn't so much alter Carlton's music as give it a sharper, direct focus. Carlton and Jenkins focus on the lush, dramatic teen-age angst that made "A Thousand Miles" a big hit in 2002, using that song as the template for a collection of songs that are intimate on a grand scale. Carlton's songs often read like diary entries, dealing with such familiar adolescent themes as love and longing, and they sound even smaller when delivered in her thin but appealing girlish voice, but they gain stature when married to the cinematic arrangements, driven by her insistent, circular piano and dressed by light layers of strings, guitars, and vocal overdubs. Where her Be Not Nobody debut could sound endearingly awkward, Harmonium is confident and somber, a conscious attempt to be serious and mature.

Customer Reviews

Entracing - the best album ive ever heard

Every single note in Harmonium is right on the money. It's entracingly beautiful and emotional, and despite Carltons voice lagging behind the maturity of her songwriting and piano skills; it actually adds the embrace of innocence to tales of love and romanticism told in a way that hasn't been by any other singer songwriter. Theres no pretentious imagery here; but she uses imagery as components to stories told in songs. Nothing is a simple love story in Carltons world - and its that realistic element in this world of ivory fantasy that makes Harmonium easily the most under-rated album ever, and easily the best too.


What more can you say, she is a brilliant composer and i love playing her music on my piano at home, i hope she brings out more beautiful songs in the future!


This album is truly amazing!! i bought it about 2 and 1/2 years ago....still not bored!! her first album was ok so i decided to bye this 1! it's seriously 1 of the best albums iv bought in my life and i think it's 1 i shall listen to over and over again! amazing stuff


Born: 16 August 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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