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The Baroness Redecorates

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Album Review

Pop singer/songwriter Sarah Slean's 2008 release The Baroness should come with a disclaimer that reads: "Caution, do not operate heavy machinery or drive an automobile while listening." A complimentary packet of Prozac might also be a nice touch. That's not to say the album is bad, it's just that the 12-track pop-cabaret collection tugs hard on nearly every single human emotional string that exists. Slean is the queen of melancholic melodies. The Canadian songstress crafts mini movie-like masterpieces that aren't recommended for the faint of heart or the clinically depressed (OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point). Besides being a fine singer and songwriter, Slean is also a poet, an artist, and an actress, which seems to add an extra dimension to her vocal performances. The singer, who co-produces all of her albums and writes and conducts all of the string parts, delves deep into the heart of life on such animated tracks as "Sound of Water," and "So Many Miles." She tackles ecstasy on "Euphoria," a swelling number that jangles and rattles with the intensity of a high magnitude earthquake. Mood music is as good a tag as any to sum up The Baroness (or maybe even music to sleep too). [iTunes also released the CD.]

Customer Reviews

A slinky, post-cabaret musical journey

With a wonderful cabaret swing, Sarah Slean delivers a dramatic almost vaudevillian album. The opening track, "Parasol", delivers a slinky introduction; complete with crisp tongue-tying lyrics and musical staccatos. The next track, "Lonely Side of of the Moon", brings the audience in to an internal dance, with strings and piano swirling in three, with hints of waltz and tango. The tango feel is continued with powerful strings and piano at the start of "Modern Man I & II" before the song mellows and unfurls into a beautiful orchid of sound; very touching. "Compatriots", in two with a triplet pulse (6/8), returns to a faster cabaret cafe feel with grand gestures, while "The Rose" slows the listener back down, for a mid-album rest with a sentimental song. "Hear Me Out" answers the sentimentality of "The Rose" with a more upbeat feel before "The Disarm Suite" draws the audience in and closes the journey out with warm rich strings and an introspective melody.
All in all, "The Baroness Redecorated" is an artistic album with great playing all around. Sarah Slean's voice soars when it needs to, and whispers when necessary, and the strings and piano are top-notch, delivering on every track. This is an album I would love to hear live... and, in my opinion, begs to be danced.

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Sarah Slean first appeared on the Toronto live circuit in 1997; the release of her independent debut EP Universe followed soon afterward. Already an accomplished, classically trained pianist, the Pickering, Ontario, native pursued her studies in the music program at the University of Toronto while gradually carving out a name for herself as a charismatic, ebullient live performer. When a number of relatively high-profile opening stints helped Slean sell over 4,000 copies of Universe, the major labels...
Full Bio
The Baroness Redecorates, Sarah Slean
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