Album: The Wreckers: Stand Still Look Pretty|
Street Date: May 23, 2006
Reviewed by: Brian
The long awaited country music debut of Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp as The Wreckers is finally here. With an album that has been in the making for over 2 years, the big question is can the album live up to the hype?
1. Leave The Pieces - The lead single from Stand Still Look Pretty, "Leave The Pieces" is an up tempo song with a nice country accent to it. The instrumentals provide a nice country-crossover feel, while the lyrics and vocals are meaningful and are carried out nicely. Branch and Harp's vocals compliment each other very well, and there are times when you can't really even tell who is who--and that's a good thing.
2. Way Back Home - "Way Back Home" is a slower mid-tempo song again with a country-crossover feel. The strings definitely stand out in the song, as well as the lyrics in how they're carried out by the vocals. The harmonies are nice, and the song definitely has good lyrics.
3. The Good Kind - One of the first songs people heard a demo of when The Wreckers project hit the ground running, the album version has a nice spin on it to make it fresh, but again a good song with nice melodies and lyrical content.
4. Tennessee - A slower guitar driven song which is probably one of the best on the album. The lyrics are smooth and flow nicely, plus the chorus is catchy ('cause I can guarantee/things are sweeter in Tennessee). The chorus vocal arrangement is very pleasing to the ear as well.
5. My, Oh My - The first song on Stand Still Look Pretty which sounds like your prototypical country song is a fun uptempo song. "My, Oh My" will have you out of your seat and dancing in a hurry. It's a very fun song.
6. Stand Still Look Pretty - We go from the most upbeat song on the album to the slowest in "Stand Still Look Pretty". The instrumentals consist of a slow, constant guitar piece which lets the lyrical and vocal content take center stage. Definitely a standout track with hard-hitting lyrics.
7. Cigarettes - We're back to the country-crossover sound with the uptempo "Cigarettes". The song has a nice flow to it, and the vocal arrangements fit the music well.
8. Hard To Love You - A slower tempoed song with soothing musical accomaniment. The vocal and lyrical content is nice as well.
9. Lay Me Down - "Lay Me Down" is another hot one on the album. It's a mid-tempo track with great lyrics, a strong musical arrangement and crisp vocals. One of the top three tracks on the CD along with "Tennessee" and "Stand Still Look Pretty."
10. One More Girl - A Patty Griffin cover, "One More Girl" is a song that grows on you the more you listen to it. The song is a slow, melodic song with some nice harmony in the chorus between Jessica and Michelle.
11. Rain - A mid-to-up tempo song with some nice drum kicks. The vocals are strong, and the lyrical content is good as well. The instrumentals are definitely a driving force of the song.
12. Crazy People - The second song with a true country vibe to it, but again it is a very fun song. "Crazy People" is a slower tempoed song which lyrically is entertaining, catchy, and flows nicely. It also provides one of my favorite lyrics from the entire album ("Well he loved his whiskey/and his fist loved my face/so I buried that man/they won't find a trace"). A nice way to end the album
Overall, the album is a great CD. The vocals of Branch and Harp flow together very smoothly, and the sound is very pleasing to the ear. Every song has high points which a listener will remember, and the lyrical and instrumental content in the songs is worthwhile. Many people wondered how The Wreckers would pull off the country flavor, but they do it very well--especially with the country crossover songs which seem to be popular in the mainstream right now. I debated for a while between giving this album a 3.5 or a 4, but for a debut there isn't a whole lot more you can ask from an album than the diversity and content Stand Still Look Pretty brings to the table.
There are several different versions of Stand Still Look Pretty. The standard edition has the 12 songs reviewed above, the Limited Edition CD/DVD Combo has a bonus track (an acoustic version of "Tennessee") and a DVD of "Leave The Pieces" with a making of the video, and Walmart has versions of the standard CD with a free download of an acoustic version of "Leave The Pieces." For more information on The Wreckers, visit thewreckers.com.
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