Today on Blogcritics
Home » Music » Independent Spirit Paula Cole Returning with First Indie Release

Independent Spirit Paula Cole Returning with First Indie Release

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

It’s no big news in the 21st century when a major-label artist goes indie. But 17 years after Paula Cole’s big 1990s hits, her independent debut marks a striking turn in a quirky career.

Remember Paula Cole? If not her name, you probably know her once-ubiquitous hit “I Don’t Want to Wait,” which served as the theme song to the mystifyingly popular teen soap Dawson’s Creek. That single and the more eccentric “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” came from her breakout self-produced 1996 sophomore album This Fire, which resulted in a Best New Artist Grammy and a nomination for Producer of the Year, the first such nod for a solo woman. But tastes are fickle, her next album wasn’t nearly as successful, and after 1999 she took a long hiatus.

After eight years Cole returned to the recording studio with a new label, and released two albums that didn’t make much of a splash. But with Raven, her brand new disc, coming out April 23 as the first she’s released without a label, she could be poised for a renaissance.

Raven‘s 11 songs are full of Cole’s trademark liquid leaps from her mellow mid-scale vocals into soprano territory. They feature some arty, non-traditional arrangements, like the dark atmospherics of “Manitoba” and “Imaginary Man”; the elemental thumps (along with bassist Tony Levin’s Chapman stick) driving “Billy Joe”; and the Nirvana-like dynamics of “Secretary.”

In addition to Levin, the backing musicians include some humpback whales, and everyone’s under Cole’s control: Always an independent spirit even when signed to a major label, she took the reins in the studio for this project as well. Bringing to bear all her songwriting maturity, emotional depth, and a voice that’s gotten a little richer while losing none of its clarity and range, she’s making a strong play to gain a fresh audience, or at least reel in more of those young alt-rocking 1990s fans who’ve since gone off to listen to who knows what.

Powered by

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.