I listen to a lot of music in a lot of genres, and you’d be hard-pressed to pull a “favorite” out of me. But there are a few very specific genres that I’m particularly fond of, one of which being the early-2000s female-vocalist pop-rock in the style of artists like Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch. Both of those artists have ventured away from those roots a bit, but there’s a special kind of magic for me in that type of music, and it’s kept me coming back to artists like that (and, on the whole, enjoying their further efforts) as they’ve branched out.
You can therefore imagine my disappointment over the past decade or so as Michelle Branch has faced issue after issue with record companies, leading to the truncation of her 2010 release Everything Comes And Goes to a 6-song EP and the complete abandonment of her album West Coast Time. You can also imagine my elation when I found out that she finally has a new album releasing after all this time; on March 24th, 2017, her album Hopeless Romantic will hit shelves, making for her first full-length release in nearly 15 years.
Perhaps inspired by this news, I’ve been listening to a bunch of her older music of late. A few months back, I wrote about a song from Everything Comes And Goes, but I’ve been honing in on her earlier music recently, particularly one of my favorite songs from her 2003 album Hotel Paper, “Tuesday Morning.”
The pop-rock ballad has a mellow, wistful quality behind the energetic guitar, as belted vocals tell a powerful story reflecting on a love. The lyrics start at the high point of the relationship, but venture into its dissolution in the second verse and the bridge, most powerfully so in the second verse’s question, “If I had known then / That these things happen / Would they have happened with you?” They also make use of a compelling but subtle parallel between choruses, where Branch sings, “I was finding out / who you were,” then changes the second line to “who I was,” and in the final chorus, she proclaims, “We were finding out / who we are.” It paints an extremely effective picture of self-discovery that led to a divergence in their paths.
The song is effective both in lyrics and instrumentals, but what really sells it are Branch’s vocals. Her soft reflection in the verses establishes an emotional tone, but “Tuesday Morning” really hits you with a build as she belts out the choruses. It truly hits its stride in the second half of the song, where she hits poignantly high notes and her vocals’ melismatic nature hits a peak, bringing out the emotional rawness behind the song’s story.
March can’t come fast enough; I’m unbelievably excited to hear new music from Michelle Branch, and to see how the years have affected her musical output. But for the little over a month until then, I’ll certainly be enjoying old classics of hers like “Tuesday Morning,” and if it’s been some time since you heard her music, or if you missed out on the hype the first time around, I highly recommend that you take the time to (re)acquaint yourself with them.