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Down Here

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Album Review

Tracy Bonham took a gutsy move when she decided to wait nearly five years to deliver her second album, Down Here. That prolonged time away from alt-rock's spotlight is dangerous for any nascent artist, but it was especially risky in the second half of the '90s when the genre moved from being in the limelight to being considered passé, even by critics. Perhaps she truly needed the time off to prepare an album that shook off any of the lingering PJ Harvey comparisons that her debut Burdens of Being Upright received, but it did result in the album virtually being ignored by a wide audience upon its release in the spring of 2000. It didn't deserve that fate, but it's hard to see how it wouldn't have received it given that it isn't really a commercial effort even though it is an artistic breakthrough. Teaming with producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake — the duo musicians always turn to when they want to turn a new, complicated leaf — Bonham crafted a record that takes its time, has a fairly stately pace, weird psychedelic flourishes, and little of the histrionics that characterized her first record. It's not just that the sound has changed, but Bonham's songwriting has gotten stronger; the tunes don't just boast stronger hooks, but they're more subtly crafted, flowing nicely from verse to chorus to bridge and back again. Though it occasionally sounds a little out of time — it's a record that would have made more sense in 1997 than in 2000 — Down Here is a record that reveals much of its strengths only with repeated listens, and that's part of the problem. Apart from the hardcore fans that have stuck with her for five years, not many people will give it a chance. If they do, they'll find that it's a smart, assured, and distinctive second effort that is a quantum leap past her debut.

Customer Reviews

Strong Sophomore Effort!

This album shows that Bonham has matured greatly in 5 years. Many complain about the gap between this and her first album but i would rather wait 4-5 years for a strong follow up than 2 years for something that is weak. And this is anything but weak! Bonham experiments with a more edgy sound that really works for her. If you liked 2005's "Blink the Brightest", then i would definitely check this out! While the two are drastically different, it gives insight to one of Boston's best hometown treasures!

and she gets even better.....

Awesome record!!!! Listen carefully for all the great instrumental sounds. She rocks it out like she is feeling every note. Too bad this record didnt take off. The record company was stupid to let it slip away.

Give it a shot

If you liked Blink the Brightest, this is worth trying. It's not as radio friendly as Blink, but it is definately deeper and shows growth from her Mother Mother days.

Biography

Born: March 16, 1969 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

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

Like Alanis Morissette and Liz Phair, Tracy Bonham made her name during the alternative boom of the mid-‘90s. Unlike those two songwriters, she did so by merging post-grunge with elements of classical music, drawing upon her violin skills in the process. The combination helped push her 1996 debut, The Burdens of Being Upright, to gold sales, and Bonham closed out the year with two Grammy nominations. Although her later albums didn’t fare quite so well,...
Full Bio
Down Here, Tracy Bonham
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