#REVIEW: RACHEL PLATTEN – “WILDFIRE”
At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I really am all for Rachel Platten and what she is doing for Pop Music. A return to real melodies, inspiration and uplifting spirit. Make no mistake, her production sounds slick, but there is a familiarity to it which rings “Adult Contemporary” yet being fresh enough to play on Top 40 radio.
Since her first Single on Sony last Summer, I’ve literally been obsessed and despite scratching my head at a New Year’s Day release for her major label debut WILDFIRE, I can say the wait was worth it. New Year’s is synonymous with resolutions, clean slates and positivity and this fits the Album to a T.
Although there is an array of sounds to be heard on WILDFIRE, it really feels cohesive. We get many sides to the gorgeous New York native’s personality. The Disc paints a picture of someone who is optimistic, fun, introspective and a little bit flirty. We need no intro to Fight Song which is a guilty pleasure for all with its catchiness, speaking to us at our most vulnerable core. We will be the first to say that it is an injustice that amazing second Single Stand By You wasn’t a bigger hit with its familiar production by fun.’s Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen). A surprise appearance from Andy Grammer, on Hey Hey Hallelujah lifts the spirit and is full of verve and confidence, a subtle nod to a Crazy in Love-era Beyoncé.
Ballads are Platten‘s strength and new single Better Place is deeply-affecting, simple and moving – an ode to love in its purest simplicity. After listening to her Fight Song EP last summer I didn’t connect immediately with Beating Me Up – which she reveals was birthed out of conflict with friends – it fully has grown on me and I cannot deny that catchy hook and those infectious backing vocals. Lone Ranger, which also was on that said EP sounds like it could be on a J-Lo Album, a true sign of Platten‘s versatility.
Angels in Chelsea pays homage to Platten‘s New York roots, taking us right there at Christmas, a portrait of a City filled with hope and beauty in its people. Congratulations winds things down, taking us a bit deeper into Platten‘s sometimes defeated spirit, which almost is needed as it grounds the Disc and gives a bit more substance in what otherwise is a brightly-uplifting collection.
WILDFIRE is brilliant in its own right and we look forward to what is a promising career as both a Singer and Songwriter for a late-discovered gem in Rachel Platten. Sony Music Canada releases the Album, now in stores.