I first ran across Rachel Platten back
in 2008. She was opening a club show at New York's Canal Room which also
featured Lucy Woodward and Toby Lightman. While I was familiar with the
other two artists' work, I didn't know anything about Platten. I sat in the
back of the club with Jim, our photographer, neither of us expecting much of
this unknown who was barely even mentioned in the promotion of the show. We
figured she was a local artist brought in to keep people in line until the
headliners showed up. (I later found out she was actually from Boston.)
We weren't paying that much attention
when Platten sat down at the piano bench. But then a funny thing happened.
Platten's music grabbed us. We started watching her more intently. Jim
pulled out the camera and started taking pictures. It was a shortish set,
but we were pretty mesmerized. This was a singer who was going places.
In the years since, we've seen her a
couple more times (in fact we'll be seeing her tomorrow night with Colbie
Caillat and Christina Perri), always opening for other acts and often
upstaging them. I bought a few of her indie releases. However, she never
quite caught on as we expected.
That was before Taylor Swift.
Apparently the multi-platinum selling
artist heard Platten performing and flipped, just like we did seven years
ago. She started Tweeting about Platten's music, telling her multitudes of
fans to check her out. Swift also recently brought Platten out on stage to
perform in front of 50,000 people at a recent Philadelphia concert stop – a
far cry from Platten's club gigs.
Between Swift's championing the singer
and a nearly ubiquitous Ford commercial that includes the title track,
Platten's finally capturing the attention she so justly deserves. Twelve
years on from releasing her first album, she is finally on a major label,
Columbia. (Not that being on a major label is always that great a thing at
this point in music history.) "Fight Song" is currently the #2 single on
iTunes and the EP is in the top 100 album downloads chart.
So Platten has put in the hard work. Is
her breakout EP with the wait?
Hells to the yes.
"Fight Song" is a gorgeous ballad of
self-empowerment, a smart and musically complex song which feels like a
slightly more nuanced version of a Katy Perry smash. The playful pop of
"Lone Ranger," complete with a fun teasing "na-na-na-na" interlude would
make a hell of a follow-up single. "Beating Me Up" has a propulsive
pop-dance beat which belies the heartbroken lyrics. Then the album closes
out with the sultry R&B vibe of "Congratulations," which Beyonce should
cover like right now.
is a damn good introduction to an artist who has been toiling in obscurity
for way too long. I hope that she strikes while the iron is hot and goes
back into the studio soon to get a full-length album out. Four songs is
just not enough Rachel Platten.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 10, 2015.