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Harbinger

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 10, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Paula Cole ~ Harbinger

Amazon.com

Following in the footsteps of Sinéad O'Connor and Tori Amos, Paula Cole is an art-rock singer-songwriter who turns her personal wounds into songs full of facile psychologizing and strained allegory with overwrought, humorless music to match. Harbinger, the debut album from the Massachussetts native, is full of grievances against glamorous romantic rivals, patronizing men, insensitive high school classmates and cross-burning racists--all so broadly drawn that everyone can easily join in the complaint. --Geoffrey Himes
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 10, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002N2I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,443 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Paula Cole's debut, "Harbinger" is a little known album that reaches the core of her music. The soulful ballads that are present on this album are some of the most candid and revealing songs in pop music. Supported with Cole's haunting voice, the songs of "Harbinger" resonate through the mind and weasel their way into the subconscious. The simplistic beauty of "Ordinary", along with the minimalist style of "Chiaroscuro" add to the complexity and depth of Cole's music. She is completely unprecidented and unlike any other artist. Original melodies and incredible music lend themselves to create the masterpiece that is "Harbinger". If you love songs like "Me" from her album, "This Fire", you will love this album. "Harbinger" is true to its name, in that it is a warning to stand back and accept the inevitable success of Cole's talent and mystique.
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Format: Audio CD
Singer/songwriter Paula Cole comes from the same school of passionate music that Tori Amos & Sarah McLachlan do, and Paula can certainly hold her own against her sisters in torchsong. Her debut album from 1994, "Harbinger," is an excellent album, showing off Paula's emotional voice and songwriting that would later make her a star with her acclaimed follow-up, "This Fire." "Harbinger" has such great songs as "Happy Home," "Watch The Woman's Hands," the great rock of "Chiaroscuro," the dark "Black Boots," the beautiful "Dear Gertrude," and the political bent of "Hitler's Brothers." Paula Cole's confessional songs may not be for everybody, but overall, "Harbinger" is a solid debut disc for this very-talented artist.
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By A Customer on January 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"Saturn Girl" is still a hit waiting to happen, and this is an excellent, unusually nuanced and marvelously sung record that occupies its own unique artistic space. Cole has made a truly great album (this one), a good one ("This Fire") and a regrettable one ("Amen") but she hasn't yet made her masterpiece. So, onward!
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By Ashareh on December 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
_Harbinger_ is an honest and passionate album, with a bare-boned intensity. Paula Cole expresses the angst of being *different,* overlooked, underappreciated. Each song contains within it a little world that captures a particular essence or quality of some moment of existence where you realize what it means to grow up. Paula Cole acknowledges the little sacrifices, the major and petty disappointments. Overall, this is quite a satisfying album.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of Paula Cole since I was 13, and that was 8 years ago. After listening to all three albums (Harbinger, This Fire, and Amen) for a gazillions time, I come to a conclusion that Harbinger is definitely Paula Cole at her best. This Fire is also very strong, but the sound engineer does not do a very good job in that one (especially in Tiger, with all the overload distortions). I admit that I probably listened to This Fire more than Harbinger (and far more than Amen), but musically wise, Harbinger is the one which I think has the most emotional and artistical values. Harbinger tracks are full of unexplainable emotions, like Hitler's Brother, Black Boots, etc. There's a certain higher level of abstractness in Harbinger than This Fire, which is a little more commercialized.

There is something about Harbinger that sounds very outdated, yet fresh everytime you hear it. Musically, Harbinger packs with a lot of interesting sounds. The whistle in Hitler's Brother gets to me everytime, and the clapping, beatboxes, etc. really do show how talented Paula Cole is. She is not just a singer with a unique voice, she's also a great composer, a virtuoso, and a groundbreaker.

It is hard to recommend this album to someone who only listen to mainstream music, because Harbinger is definitely not mainstream. Some people prefer the crispness in a record, but this is not the case. Harbinger has a very distinctive sound, it is very grey-toned and a little strange. Nevertheless, it is a kind of music that you will appreciate once you've become accustomed to. Buy it.. there's a certain CD in which everyone MUST try to listen to at least once, and Harbinger/This Fire is one of those CDs which you either hate, like, or absolutely obsess with.
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By A Customer on January 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"Saturn Girl" is still a hit waiting to happen, and this is an excellent, unusually nuanced and marvelously sung record that occupies its own unique artistic space. Cole has made a truly great album (this one), a good one ("This Fire") and a regrettable one ("Amen") but she hasn't yet made her masterpiece. So, onward!
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Format: Audio CD
Paula Cole's first album, though fairly unknown, is like a diamond in the rough. With such a unique sound, listeners who have been spoiled with commercial sounding rock may be up for a let down. However, for those who want to experience powerfully rich yet raw music, "Harbinger" will exceed your wildest expectations. It's a wonderful mixture of sounds ranging from piano, whistling, and clapping. The music itself is different and pleasing to the ear. Paula tells it like it is with no sensory veils ("Everybody's talking about Becky's bust, the boys on the basketball team just f***, The same 10 girls who don't know who they are, Looking for some comfort in the back of a car, The 6-pack of beer, the locker room jeers, I don't want to be me, I don't want to be here"--Bethlehem) With brutally honest lyrics from songs like Bethlehem, Happy Home, Saturn Girl, I Am so Ordinary, Dear Gertrude, and Oh John, "Harbinger" is wonderfully sung and produced. Words can't even begin to describe the total genius that this record is. Your music collection isn't complete without it. Buy it NOW.
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