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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, solid - look for Bonus version
I wrote a full review on the CD page but here's the bottom line: she's sexy and angry and has joy and is returned. Every cut is solid and, as a whole builds and wraps in pain and salvation. Also, for now Amazon is selling two versions - one is an exclusive edition with a bonus song, "Second Chance" , a post-script that moves the album to the next emotional stage.
Published on September 21, 2010 by Andy

versus
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's me who is my enemy.
Back in the mid-1990's there was a strong female singer/songwriter movement in popular music with Tori Amos, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Sophie B. Hawkins, Fiona Apple, Tracy Bonham, Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Ani DiFranco, Joan Osborne, Sarah McLachlan, and, of course, Paula Cole.

Now, I had been exposed to Paula Cole before I actually knew who she was. I went to see...
Published on October 29, 2010 by Jason Stein


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's me who is my enemy., October 29, 2010
By 
Jason Stein (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
Back in the mid-1990's there was a strong female singer/songwriter movement in popular music with Tori Amos, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Sophie B. Hawkins, Fiona Apple, Tracy Bonham, Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Ani DiFranco, Joan Osborne, Sarah McLachlan, and, of course, Paula Cole.

Now, I had been exposed to Paula Cole before I actually knew who she was. I went to see Peter Gabriel on his "Us" tour in the middle of 1993, and he had a special guest--Paula Cole, before her debut album was even released. It wasn't until 1997 when "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone" that she re-entered my consciousness and set up shop permanently.

I'm sure I was like many others after the release of "Amen" in 1999, in thinking 'whatever happened to Paula Cole?' She then re-emerged in 2007 with "Courage", and I was glad, but less than satisfied with her musical direction.

Enter "Ithaca". Much in the same musical family as "Courage" with a nod to her first three albums in places. "Ithaca" is, plainly speaking, dull. I was not inspired by her arrangements, and her lyrics were not compelling. Her first three albums were compelling, setting soul baring lyrics to appropriate musical arrangements, creating a very satisfying experience. Now, we have gotten easy listening Cole. I understand she's older now, more mature, more centered, but this is not necessarily reflected in her music. Instead, I find Cole treading the same lyrical waters, just set to elevator music. I can hear "Ithaca" playing gently over a cup of coffee all over the country in the Starbucks chain. Self analysis is only interesting if you take it to interesting places musically.

The strongest song here is "Come On Inside" which echoes "I Don't Want To Wait". This song has a strong musical hook, the strongest on the entire album, followed by "Somethin' I've Gotta Say" and "The Hard Way". It seems to me Cole's ballads used to really invite you in, but here "Elegy", "Violet Eyes", "2 Lifetimes", "Waiting On A Miracle", "Sex", they're just listless, bloodless pieces.

"Ithaca" is my least favorite Paula Cole album. I went back and listened to all of her albums in sequential order, and I found that I even liked "Courage" better than "Ithaca". Still, I found a noticeable shift in the quality of her music after "Amen". The other thing I concluded is that Cole has never made a five star album. She always throws something on every album that detracts from the greatness of each of her first three albums. "Courage" and "Ithaca" are, perhaps, more cohesive, but they also lack energy, spirit, and focus.

I want more from Cole than coffeehouse music. Maybe next time.

Here's how "Ithaca" compares to Cole's previous works:

1994 Harbinger: Four Stars
1996 This Fire: Four Stars
1999 Amen: Four Stars
2007 Courage: Three and a Half Stars
2010 Ithaca: Three Stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, solid - look for Bonus version, September 21, 2010
By 
Andy "Andy" (Bronx, NY, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ithaca [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
I wrote a full review on the CD page but here's the bottom line: she's sexy and angry and has joy and is returned. Every cut is solid and, as a whole builds and wraps in pain and salvation. Also, for now Amazon is selling two versions - one is an exclusive edition with a bonus song, "Second Chance" , a post-script that moves the album to the next emotional stage.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strong moving, September 21, 2010
By 
Andy "Andy" (Bronx, NY, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
I like Paula Coles' early album This Fire and so have kept an eye out for new stuff. Ithaca is great. Her voice and the production push and pull in all directions, and are brave, and the songs' emotions pull us in. She covers herself, and then she bares herself, and she's sexy and angry and has joy and is returned. I only buy a half dozen albums a year, as I'm careful. This is one in which every cut is solid and, as a whole builds and wraps in pain and salvation. Amazon is selling two versions - one is an exclusive edition with a bonus song, "Second Chance" that moves the album to the next emotional stage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somethin I've Gotta Say...., November 25, 2010
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This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
THIS IS AMAZING. That's what I gotta say, what an album. I rekindled an old romance with this album, my romance with with Paula. I, like everyone had heard the gorgeous I Don't Wanna Wait over and over through the Dawson's Creek days, but she was and is far more than that song.
Ithaca is deep, it's etheral, organic and just a pleasure to listen to.
The standout for me is of course 'Somethin' I've Gotta Say'...it has been on repeat, I absolutely fell in love with this song after hearing only a small part on the amazon preview...also in the albums EPK, which I recommend watching, it draws you into what Paula wanted with this album. Another standout is The Hard Way, it's reaching chorus and the almost regretful feeling throughout the song is brilliant, when I listen to it it almost feels like a snapshot of what she has gone through over the last few years.
I am so glad this was reccomended to me by amazon as I hadn't thought of Paula in a while, but now I am once again an avid fan praying she will tour Australia, here's hoping.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest artist in America, September 2, 2011
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This review is from: Ithaca [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
The record is amazing, she is getting better with time.
Very sophisticated for popular audiences, great artistry, excellent composer, fabulous singer, 5 stars, love you...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So close, April 6, 2011
By 
KHE (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
Sometimes the emotions are a bit overwrought. Cole has a tendency to do that in her lyrics but her vocal power and piano prowess are in fine form. The fact that this woman isn't an international superstar is one of the true outrages of the modern musical scene.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely gorgeous musik, February 6, 2011
By 
Jeffo (SF East Bay) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
Paula Cole has returned to her roots of writing and singing meaningful, heartfelt music. Her hiatus was well worth the wait. You'll never hear a woman sing with so much conviction without believing that she wrote these songs out of personal experience (her pain is our pleasure). Way to go Paula!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, September 21, 2010
By 
J. Edwards (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
Paula Cole's new album is enough proof of her great voice and talent as songwriter. I just saw her in concert tonight at City Winery in New York and she's also a fantastic performer. Ithaca, her brand new album, is simply solid, mature and a very good album from any perspective.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Paula...Not feeling it...., October 1, 2010
By 
Bettyboy72 "Thom" (Buffalo, New York United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
As a huge Paula Cole fan, I buy everything she releases. The last few releases have been highly disappointing in my opinion. The songwriting and delivery has become muddy. Paula, like Tori Amos, peaked early, delivering releases that were clearly visceral and urgent. Since those early releases Paula has devolved in what I consider bland confessional songs that lack something for me as a listener. Sometimes it appears Paula puts her journals to music. Is there such a thing as too literal? Well sometimes her songs are. Yes, I like autobiographical music, but something in Paula's later work just doesn't click for me-its maudlin and depressive and not in a particularly poetic way. I am glad others continue to enjoy her later work, but clearly me and a lot of other fans have become disinterested. I love Paula, but I can't get into her recent releases. She seems pretty unhappy and I guess I'm missing all the redemption she talks about in her music. Just not feeling it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentler Paula - but really?, September 24, 2010
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This review is from: Ithaca (Audio CD)
Like i said - this CD is a gentler Paula Cole but not when you really start to listen and read.....and you know you are home. She lets loose, holds back, lets loose. Saw her back in the 90's here in VT and she was amazing - going to see her in November back in White River Jct., VT. I can't wait!!!!!!!!!
This CD - you just have to get if you are a die hard Paula Cole fan.
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Ithaca
Ithaca by Paula Cole (Audio CD - 2010)
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