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Happenstance

4.3 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 8, 2004
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$4.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 9 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 8, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • ASIN: B0060ANL82
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,654 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Rachael Yamagata Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ever had a song that had been stuck in your head for what seems like eternity? I have and that song that has been stuck in my head for eons is Rachael Yamagata's infectious "Worn Me Down". My local radio stations has been playing "Worn Me Down" quite a bit. It is one of the few songs that I actually enjoy listening to on the radio. I have not been able to get that song out of my head (which is a good thing). I finally broke down and bought "Happenstance" over the weekend. It took me a few listens and over time, the cd gradually grew on me. I can certainly hear the comparisons to Fiona Apple but as another reviewer wrote here, Rachael has a huskier voice. Plus her lyrics aren't as depressing as Fiona Apple's. She also reminded me of Beth Orton (a little bit) but minus the english accent. I guess I can hear a little Norah Jones in Rachael but nowhere as indecipherable as Norah is when it comes to singing. Next to "Worn Me Down", I thought the first two songs "Be Be Your Love" and "Letter Read" stood out for me on the album. "Happenstance" is one of those albums where everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in in terms of various influences in Rachael's music like country, jazz, and folk music. If "Happenstance' is anything to expect from Rachael Yamagata in the future, then I am looking forward to hearing more from her.
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By M. Park on September 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
My first impression on Rachael Yamagata's Happenstance was overwhelmingly pleasing. This is quality music. What makes it high in quality? Creativity encapsulated in TALANTED artistic expression. Listening to the tracks the first time comes feeling of enchanting inspiration. It seems the "Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility" does not apply with this album. In other words the replay value, atleast for me, does not decrease in any way. Every track is unique in style. Rachael Yamagata has a wonderful, sweet, gentle, soothing hurricane of a voice. Breath-taking. Yet there is a fine balance between her voice and the instrumental progression. Neither being aggressive over the other. There is no "favorite" track here, and rightly so. Judging from this album, I can confidently say that Yamagata acquires substantial progress for the indie rock culture. 5-stars hands down. If all you do is listen and follow mainstream_trl music, you must die. Listen to a bit of life for a change.

Pros: creative, beautiful, anti-law of diminishing marginal utility

Cons: if listener has been first contaminated by what is, according to the unattentive ear, deceptively 'similar' in mainstream... it may require cleansing of the mind, soul, ear.
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Format: Audio CD
Rachael Yamagata's voice and vocal technique are positively apocalyptic -- a low, husky moan that automatically adds a load of anguish to all her songs, even an upbeat swinger like "I Want You". It's a seductive sound, however, kind of like the very dark, almost Goth doppelganger of Norah Jones. Even Fiona Apple sounds carefree by comparison.

The performances on this record are terrific all around, with a groove-heavy rhythm section and good, engaging arrangements in the jazz and rock veins. If anything, te weakness of this record is that it doesn't really vary its emotional approach. Everything is dark, heavy and menacing; it could use a little bit more lightness and sparseness -- as in the "hidden" 14th track (named as "Ode to..." in Rolling Stone), where Yamagata's airy singing and the lonely acoustic guitar provide some much-needed contrast to the dense melancholy that came before. However, the singular mood of Happenstance can also be a plus. Put it on when you're in a black, depressed kind of mood and it'll sound like it's expressing your emotions for you.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After reading the reviews and going on the her website to listen to a few songs, I bought the CD. I liked it at first, but something started bothering me about it and I put it away after a week.

I guess I can see how she is compared to Fiona Apple or Norah Jones. But in all honesty, I just can't find the soul in this album. Her singing is soothing, but not beckoning or captivating. The melodies are sweet and comforting, but not very complex. But these things don't bother me, they're nice and I'm satisfied.. They're okay. The thing that bothers me the most about her songs are the lyrics. I think it's been noted before, that they're very predictable, and not very thoughtful. It's not poetic, and I don't want to say they sometimes are "crappy," but I just did. LIke "I feel like i'm lovin' you in 1963. flowers in my hair now." in 1963. I mean... it's meaningless. What does that have to do with anything? Maybe it's not supposed to mean much, but it gets pretty annoying after a while.

Anyway... She's good. But she's definitely no Fiona, Tori, or Norah. I just don't feel it.
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Format: Audio CD
Rachael Yamagata was a new music discovery for me last week, but it took about 5 seconds to know I love her music. Her voice is like a curtain of incense smoke, it fills your spaces and transports you to another realm.

Some of her songs sound like some hopeless romantic running her fingers on a piano keyboard. Her music seems melancholy at times, but when she picks up speed the music sounds like a galloping horse on a beach at midnight. She has a great range and can pretty much sing anything she pleases.

This album is a mix of soft and catchy songs, and her voice is a definite winner. There are many songs on it which she sings while playing the piano, which makes for sensual and haunting music. I love an artist who can write their own music, and as I searched her name out on the internet, her website has her journals and her writing is superb. It can make a fan of hers out of anyone who likes interesting and clever words. I am keeping my eye out on Yamagata and definitely purchasing all further music she will make. This cd is full of wonderful material that is easy to listen to, overall you couldn't ask for better music.
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