Whither I Must Wander - Martha Wainwright, Stevenson, Robert L
Martha Wainwright comes from a family that some would call "musical royalty." She is the daughter of Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, and sister of Rufus Wainwright, yet she writes and sings with a style complete... more »ly her own. After several tours as opener and band-mate for Rufus Wainwright, and appearances on albums by Rufus, the McGarrigles, Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes) and Linda Thompson, Martha made her own bold statement with the release of her EP BMFA earlier this year. The EP garnered rave reviews: The London Times called it a "tour de force" while The New York Times named it "a gorgeous teaser" to her forthcoming full-length debut. The release of that self-titled debut album takes things to a whole new level. An album of contrasts, Martha Wainwright features tracks filled with raw, fiery, passionate energy alongside unforgettable, hauntingly beautiful ballads.« less
Martha Wainwright comes from a family that some would call "musical royalty." She is the daughter of Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, and sister of Rufus Wainwright, yet she writes and sings with a style completely her own. After several tours as opener and band-mate for Rufus Wainwright, and appearances on albums by Rufus, the McGarrigles, Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes) and Linda Thompson, Martha made her own bold statement with the release of her EP BMFA earlier this year. The EP garnered rave reviews: The London Times called it a "tour de force" while The New York Times named it "a gorgeous teaser" to her forthcoming full-length debut. The release of that self-titled debut album takes things to a whole new level. An album of contrasts, Martha Wainwright features tracks filled with raw, fiery, passionate energy alongside unforgettable, hauntingly beautiful ballads.
Joyce C. from GARDEN GROVE, CA Reviewed on 2/12/2010...
Martha Wainwright has a style of her own that soothes. Enjoy her easy mellow vibe.
One of the best CDs of 2005
Daniel Maltzman | Arlington, MA, USA | 05/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the time when I buy a CD, I listen to it a few times and then put it back on the shelf for weeks or months at a time before I give it another listen. There are occasions, however, when I buy a CD and it really grabs a hold of me. On these rare occasions, I become engrossed, almost addicted to the album. Martha Wainwright's self-titled debut has been one of these occasions.
Because of who her family is, it would be easy to immediately dismiss her as "the sister of Rufas," or "the daughter of Louden and Kate McGarrigle." This would be a mistake, because Martha Wainwright's music is distinctly unique and she is a huge talent in her own right.
Her voice is gorgeous, but not in a traditional sense. Her voice has a soulful, high-pitched, eerie beauty, like nothing I've ever heard before. In her delivery, there is a real sense of emotion and feeling that really connects with the listener. With most albums, when you are done listening, you are done. When you are finished with Martha Wainwright's album, you feel as though you had just been visited by a presence, and that feeling stays with you, long after the CD has ended.
From the opening "Far Away", the listener is immediately swept into the CD. This song is subtle, building up ever so slightly, and is slightly underwhelming, which gives the song the perfect effect. The hauntingly beautiful background vocals add a nice touch. The more upbeat "G.P.T." has an infectious, singsong verse before going into its' soulful chorus. The bluesy morose "Factory" shows a more vulnerable side to Martha Wainwright. "These Flowers" has a kind-of a dream-like lullaby atmosphere. "Ball and Chain," (not a cover of the classic Janis Joplin song) sounds somewhat Janis-Joplin like. It is here that Wainwright lets down all restraints and finally lets all that had been building up inside her explode. "Why does this always happen?" she yells, demanding an answer, yet knowing none will come. The album comes back to earth with the beautiful "Don't forget" a song about lost love. These types of songs are so cliché,' but Wainwright sounds so sincere, and this song feels so lived in, that it's impossible not to be moved. The tongue-in-cheek "This Life," tries to answer the question of whether the monotony of life in general is worth living. The light percussion over the subtle strumming of the acoustic strings creates the perfect backdrop for the song. Although it is asked whether or not suicide is the answer, this seemingly heavy-handed topic does not emotionally drain the listener the way an Alice In Chains song might. It's as though these suicidal ideas are just passing thoughts, not to be taken seriously. The catchy mid-paced "When the day is Short," keeps the momentum going. The brutally honest "Bloody Mother F***ing A** Hole" is one of the album's centerpieces. You'd expect a song with a title like that to sound like Hole or Babes In Toyland, but that's not the case at all. This acoustic song starts out very subtle, building up angst as it rolls along, as though the hurt and resentment inside had been building up a long time and now is being vented out. But when Wainwright delivers the main lines "you bloody mother f***ing A** hole," she sounds more hurt than angry. "I will not pretend, I will not put on a smile, I will not say I'm alight for you, for you, whoever you are." In other words, she is taking a stand, against anyone who would try to supress her, or not let her be herself. The explicit content sounds especially powerful because it comes out of left field. It's really unexpected. It's not like an Eminem album where every-other word is f*** this and f*** that. The bluesy easy-going "TV Show" has an engrossing stream-like lyrical flow. There's an array of strings in the background that are effective, yet subtle. The singsong "Maker" is enchanting, especially when the lush array of background vocals in the chorus kick in. The somber stripped-down acoustic "Who was I kidding" is heavyhearted, yet not overdone. The elegant piano balled "Whiter I Must Wander" is the perfect way to close out the album, ending on a whisper.
Martha Wainwright's debut is a truly wonderful listen, through and through. It's brutally honest, yet not melodramatic, confident, yet never cocky. Martha Wainwright is an amazing and very promising talent. One of the best CDs of 2005. "
A Woman Without Apologies
Juan Mobili | Valley Cottage, NY USA | 04/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I write this review "[B.M.F.A]" plays on ... again. In addition to being one the best of the best songs in this album -both lyrically and musically- this potentially controversial tune can lead you to appreciate everything that's great about Martha Wainwright's full-length debut. To begin, it shows the impressive dramatic range she can reach wit her voice, managing to be authentically vulnerable, sincerely outraged and hopeful to reach, perhaps, who the song's about -which from reading some recent reviews may be her father Loudon, whom she has dedicated this song to in concerts. Vocal talents that are also powerfully displayed in many other songs, specially in the beautiful Pop and wrenching lyrics of "Factory," the longing of "Far Away," and the honesty of "TV Show." In no way less important to what makes this music so moving are, of course the lyrics -penned by her except for "Whither I Must Wander"- which can go from raw confessions (No idea how it feels to be on your own / In your own home / With the f***ing phone / And the mother of gloom / In your bedroom / Standing over your head / With her hand in your head). Or her wondering in "Wild Flowers" that "they are like those children / who go off to school and don't come back / and I am like their mother / waiting around about to crack," yet accepting that "these wild flowers are coming up wild." Praise must be given too to the arrangements and production -she co-produced- which are rather fitting for what Martha has to say, knowing when to remain understated or propel her voice further. All in all, this is a marvelous album. The work of a young woman with nothing to apologize for and the strong intention to make war or to make peace with us, depending on what she needs to say. Caressing or jolting us as it's needed for us to listen closely. Much is being said about her predisposition for talent, given her family's musical might -whether you think of father Loudon, her mother Anna McGarrigle, or her bro Rufus. I'm convinced that the abundant greatness in her songs is hers to claim. She's more her own voice that an extension of their genes. Her talent, the pretty and painful sides of it, is her gift and, clearly her mission to share. "
McAngrigrrlle is simply stunning
opentuned | Saskatchewan, Canada | 04/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As much as can be made of her genetic predisposition to brilliance, I only know of her parents' work through a couple of songs each. So, all I can base this review on is the absolute brilliance of the album. This is a recording that will stop you dead in your tracks, from beauty to rage to both simultaneously, and done flawlessly. Martha's vocal range is astonishing (I haven't been jolted by a voice so much since I was a kid and heard Kate Bush for the first time) and the songs and arrangements are so tight, so moving, it really takes you to a whole other place. Totally accessible, yet highly unpredictable. And while the McGarrigle voice and Wainwright edge are there, you also can feel the weary beauty of an artist like Lisa Germano or the ravaged nobility of Marianne Faithfull in the mix as well. Just to speculate, imagine the children of immense musical genius a tragically destructive relationship with someone like Joseph Arthur might bring. It would stagger the mind. If you like music and like your music with passion and intelligence, you MUST buy this ."
Shane Carpenter | Los Angeles, CA USA | 09/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm proud to say that I have an extremely large libary of eclectic music - from underground hip-hop, to alternative country, to electronica ...and I can say without reservation that this is one of the most amazing albums in my collection. Very rarely do I listen to an album the first time and champion it as one of my favorites - but that is precisely what happened with this album.
To the people who are considering purchasing this album: It's difficult to explain what kind of genre Martha's music falls into. It has elements of country, but it's not country; it has elements of pop, but it's not pop; it has elements of rock, but I wouldnt call it rock... you get the picture. I can tell you that if you enjoy Neko Case, Feist, The Arcade Fire, Wilco, and Regina Spektor (among others), then you'll absolutely love this album. The production and songwriting is phenomenal from beginning to end.
Please do yourself a favor and buy this album, I promise you won't be disappointed. Then do us all a favor and have your friends tell their friends about this album. Martha's here and she's going to be here for a while."
Strong first outing
Stephen Doig | New Zealand | 05/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On the cover of this, her debut album, Martha Wainwright wears a look of resolve and determination as if to say "whatever it takes, my music will be heard... but only on my terms". Upon listening it becomes clear very quickly she has not only the voice but also the songs to back up this confidence.
If I didn't know any better, I'd have just as easily guessed this was from 1978 than 2005, sharing as it does a real kinship in sound to (then) emerging singers like Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry and in particular Kate Bush. Like Bush's debut 'The Kick Inside', arrangements here swoon and soar, choruses surprise and there's an almost frightening level of intensity at times, which makes for riveting listening throughout. It's also an album that's unafraid to tackle difficult subject matter, though for me, much of it is simply about attempting to transcend life's limitations.
After all that verbosity, all you really need to know is this is a beautiful collection of songs by a striking new artist - and if you like her brother Rufus, then odds are you'll like Martha Wainwright too."