ALBUM REVIEW: Rachel Platten – Waves
I’m going to call it now, Rachel Platten’s sophomore studio record “Waves” is going to be one of the most underrated albums of 2017. For some reason this era has seen her material not charting as high or getting as much traction as her debut did and it’s a travesty because this record is stronger, more mature and offers some real bangers. Musically she’s heading towards a heavier electronic pop influence steering away from the cheesy empowerful pop that her debut record centered around. There are moments her old sound shines through like on the mediocre “Loose Ends” which has a very similar melody to “Fight Song” but she shakes it off to give you a new empowerful pop sound. Lead single “Broken Glass” perfectly introduces this new found confident sound with it’s empowering lyrics, feel good vibes and slick dance beats. She then steps it up on the funky “Perfect For You” which really should be on heavy rotation on all mainstream radio stations. “And it’s true, I can’t seem to shake it loose cause all this insecurity’s hurting me tighter trying to be perfect for you”. She’s embracing this new wave of pulsating synth beats and tropical pop production and still manages to hold onto honest and slightly emotional lyrics. “Shivers” is another perfect example of this sound and also gives me some “EMOTION” era Carly Rae Jepsen vibes while “Keep Up” gets all experimental and funky and is reminiscent of Vera Blue’s “Lady Powers”. This record does hear Platten experimenting a lot more and she gets a bit DIY on the production with “Labels”, “Loveback” and “Collide” which is one of the strongest tracks on this collection. “Although I’m not perfect, I feel perfect in your eyes. Turn the lights on, honey, I don’t really wanna hide, not tonight. Come and crash into me ’cause I want us to collide”. Sometimes the experimenting doesn’t work the way she would want it to and the cheesy “Good Life” is an example of that and genuinely feels out of place. But I am a sucker for a good gooey-pop song and “Whole Heart” is that moment. It has experimental verses but a beautiful pop hook that sees her wishing her feelings towards this person in particular would be reciprocated. “You doubt I could be your safety net, What now? Why don’t you just love me? And why doubt all of my intentions? You got my attention, my whole, whole heart”. Her debut album stood out because of her songwriting and her pretty pop ballads so she does have a couple of those moments for her listeners. “Hands” is an emotional ballad that stands out with its strong lyrics while “Fooling You” impresses with it’s beat ballad production. “Grace” closes the album with a forgettable stripped down ballad and while it’s pretty it’s nothing standout. However this record does impress with it’s growth, maturity and experimental side. This is the strongest we’ve heard her yet and I just wish the rest of the world would wake up and take notice because this is a very good record.