I was surprised I liked this cd. I'm not into most country and tend to like more "challenging" singer songwriters but this is quite good (with a cool cd art concept)
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Depth of emotion, without sacrificing intelligence
MagicSkip | Marriottsville, MD | 01/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I ever heard of Beth Nielsen Chapman, I was familiar with the excellent song "In the Time It Takes", by way of Paul Carrack. I was introduced to BNC through her WONDERFUL first & eponymous disc (which I also HIGHLY recommend). After enjoying that one so much, I had to get this too. One thing Beth lacks is a unifying theme to the full album. Each song needs to be taken and appreciated on its own. One almost feels a tad manic-depressive in going from song to song on this disc. How does one put "Rage On Rage" (angry) just after "When I Feel This Way" (romantic)? And follow the flirty "In the Time It Takes" with the bitter "You Say You Will"? Still, each song is wonderful! They express so much more than one normally expects from a four minute soft-pop-country-crossover type song. Certainly, none of those skanky ex-Mouseketeers will be covering any of these songs; it's too hard to pronounce multi-syllabic words with a mouth full of bubble-gum. That's good -- Beth's work is thought-provoking, emotional, expressive, and mature.Beth's first disc is just a little bit better, but this one is not a significant drop-off. Together, the two would make an excellent two-disc set. Her next, "Sand and Water" goes a whole new direction, and must be considered indepently."
I'll play contrarian here
Greg Brady | Capital City | 06/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Nielsen Chapman is an odd duck as a singer-songwriter because she straddles several genres: adult contemporary, country, and jazz "lite". Her voice is firmly midrange..not a stratospheric soprano nor one I'd consider "dusky". The singing is tasteful, avoiding the tremulous vibrato that plagues AC divas but not being so "low-key" that it fades into the background.
HIGHLIGHTS: The waltz of "Dance with Me Slow" is one waiting to be discovered as a new torch song. I'm incredulous that it isn't a wedding standard. It's enhanced by a nice muted trumpet part. "Say it to Me Now" is a passionate plea for real honesty in relationships. ("Say it to me now/Even if the truth tears us apart/I need to feel the closeness of knowing what's in your heart") "Rage on Rage" is a perfect snapshot of an abusive relationship...the ploys the man uses to keep his battered wife and the lies she tells herself to stay. It's little turns of phrase that lend this its power, as in noting that a wedding photo is broken after the latest outburst ("this one can't be mended again"), even a subtle suggestion of the abuser's own harsh past ("turn back the page and see/all that was done to me"). "You Say You Will" is Chapman involved in a one-sided love affair. ("I give you every little thing you choose/You give me back a stack of I.O.U.'s") Though it's one of the better songs here, Chapman's performance of it doesn't make me forget Trisha Yearwood's country hit take on the song. "The Moment You Were Mine" is Chapman throwing aside cynicism in the throes of love. "Faithful Heart" is also one that would probably make good nuptial music.
LOWS: Neither "In the Time it Takes" or "Only So Many Tears" are bad, but they are formulaic. They have the feel of being deliberately written to be a "radio song".
BOTTOM LINE: Despite several great songs, as a whole the CD doesn't keep drawing me back to it. This one is pretty average in my opinion."
Opening Up A Whole New Horizon
martin j. | Bridgeport, CT | 12/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beth Nielsen Chapman's, "You Hold the Key" is the very definition of what Music - Great Music, True Talent and Accomplished Artistry is all about. I bought the CD because I had heard Ms. Chapman's name often in conjunction with many of Contemporary Country's top hits. I read somewhere that she wrote Faith Hill's, "This Kiss". Although I was totally smitten with that song, I am not a big fan of that genre. I was, however, interested in hearing from someone who practiced their craftmanship from behind the scenes. I also have a little penchant for album covers and I found this one to be quite attractive and unique. With just one or two listens, this CD has become part of my most treasured possessions and Ms. Chapman, a personal idol. At first, I was very afraid that the songs would be Country by-the-numbers. Nothing wrong with that, but I hate music that seems to all come from the same place. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Ms. Chapman is one of the few artists I've heard whose compositions attain that perfect pitch between depth and diversity. I'm still in awe that one musician could be so proficient (and prolific) in so wide an array of musical stylings. The songs are firmly rooted in Pop but skillfully and beautifully display flourishes of Jazz, Blues, Folk, Country - of course - and Rock. I would never imagine that she, an institution in one genre, would be able to both inhabit and breathe life into so many sounds, structures and subject matters. All while never losing sight of her creative identity. Listening to this album, one isn't just hearing words sung by a performer, one is experiencing the full-range of the human heart."
You Hold The Key
Phyllis J. Fiorito | Cincinnati, Ohio United States | 06/28/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this CD, and although I bought it for one song on it "Dance with me Slow," I was delighted with the other songs on the CD."