Rachael Yamagata / Happenstance : 3 of 5
Here's another CD that I was compelled to buy after listening to a free track from the iTunes Music Store for a few weeks. I had downloaded Rachael's awesome song Letter Read, which features great driving bass lines on the piano, cool syncopation, plus a nice minor key verse that switches into a major key chorus, together with her sultry voice. The rest of the CD is very good, but unfortunately, there aren't any other tunes with the same emotion as Letter Read. Rachael is kind of like Nora Jones crossed with Fiona Apple, so there are plenty of piano ballads here - so many that they tip the balance of the CD, making the second half simply too slow (nice for laying on your back on a Sunday afternoon, but terrible for listening to in the car!). There are some fun tunes on the first half, like Be Your Love and Worn Me Down, but neither of them have completely interesting lyrics. The words to Even So are some of the best, but by that point in the CD I'm too busy hoping there will be a more driving tune. If there were just one or two more pumping numbers scattered about, this would be a much better CD. Still, it's nice to own and be introduced to a new cool artist (and the CD cover is pretty darn beautiful, too).