Editor's Review

Summary

Brandi Carlile's latest album is a soulful tale of forgiveness and personal growth. "By The Way, I Forgive You" weaves through genres, capturing the attention of music lovers as it goes. With a quirky style and a unique story to tell, this album is a must for anyone with an acoustic sweet-tooth.

8.5
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Music, at it’s very heart is about making the listener feel something. Whether that’s done through relatable subject matter, purity of songwriting or hauntingly beautiful melody, there is something for everyone in “By The Way, I Forgive You”, the latest 10-song album entry from Nashville Folk Rock artist Brandi Carlile.

With the leading theme of forgiveness, the album opens with “Every Time I Hear That Song”. Finger-style guitar and a simple melody give way to lyrics which prove to be quite thought provoking. If songs for the heartbroken are your thing, you’ll already be hooked. There is no rigid rhyming pattern, giving the song a disjointed feel that only adds to its haunting charm. In its position at the top of the album, “Every Time I Hear That Song” oozes personality, something echoed again and again as the album progresses.

Songs two and three on the album can be considered its main masterpieces if you’re looking to be uplifted. Both “The Joke” and “Hold Out Your Hand” respectively, while completely stylistically different from each other are exceptional examples of Carlile’s quirky style.  The beauty of the album and of the artist’s style in general is their refusal to conform to a genre. Carlile’s music ebbs and flows in an exploration of a wide range of styles from country, to rock, to folk and back again.

The theme of forgiveness underlines the entire album. Although, in contrast some of the songs could initially appear tonally dejected, the way in which the album has been crafted through the use of those sweet melodies allows the listener to take a note of reserved optimism.  A stand out example of this is track four on the album, “Whatever You Do”. It evokes feelings of personal revelation and through Carliles raw and impassioned vocal talent, that emotional connection between artist and listener is easily made.

The overall unique sound of “By The Way, I Forgive You” is not upheld by Brandi Carlile alone. As always, her backing singers, affectionately known as “The Twins” play a huge part in creating the soulful sound that the ensemble is so well known for through the use of impeccable three part harmonies throughout a large chunk of the album. That is, with the exception of the thoughtfully chosen closing song, aptly named “Party of One”. It’s the perfect decrescendo from the climax of forgiveness and reflection offered through earlier songs.

As a whole, the emotional aura that radiates from “By The Way, I Forgive You” allows almost anyone to buy into and become invested in it. The nature of Carlile’s writing is simple and accessible, yet deeply personal. Combine that with a talent for creating sweet, melodic and hauntingly beautiful melody, and Brandi Carlile has hit the nail on the head. With a truly unique style, if you’re into any kind of folk-leaning music, “By The Way I Forgive You” is a must listen.

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