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Speak A Little Louder [Explicit]

52 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 15, 2013
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Speak A Little Louder [Explicit] + Bible Belt
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Editorial Reviews

Writing both alone and with acclaimed Dap Kings-drummer-turned-producer, Homer Steinweiss on much of this new record, together with Aqualung s Matt Hales (Lianne La Havas, Paloma Faith) and Eg White (of Adele fame), this new collection of songs mark a distinct progression for Diane Birch. Throughout this new record, she lays bare the emotional rollercoaster of her life over the past couple of years; coping with heartbreak at the end of a long-lasting relationship, the pain of losing her father to cancer, and her dance with the light and dark of self on the road to womanhood.

Though only in her late-twenties, Birch likes to think of herself as an old soul, and indeed there is a startling maturity in her singing and a veteran s self-assurance in her writing. With hook-driven songs, Birch mixes piano-playing virtuosity with easy-going soul, and can strike an uplifting groove on even the most melancholy tune. Her work bears hints of Laura Nyro (when she was hanging out with LaBelle) and early 70 s Karen Carpenter (when she was ruling the charts), while effortlessly incorporating New Orleans second-line rhythms, gospel fervor, doo-wop harmonies, country-blues guitar and classic AM radio-style melodies.
Soft pac with fold out liner notes and credits.


1. Speak A Little Louder
2. Lighthouse
3. All The Love You Got
4. Tell Me Tomorrow
5. Superstars
6. Pretty In Pain
7. Love And War
8. Frozen Over
9. Diamonds In The Dust
10. Unfkd [Explicit]
11. It Plays On

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 15, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: S-Curve
  • ASIN: B00ER23UYA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,014 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Madeline on October 15, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
If you happened to have just completely loved Diane's first album and were expecting more of the same, then you might be somewhat put off by this followup. The first album drew quick comparisons to Carole King and Norah Jones, but this one is much more in the same lines as artists like Florence Welch or Adele. There's an increased emphasis on larger orchestral pieces punctuated with a strong bass line. It's darker yet more pop friendly and seems to be closer to the type of artist that Diane sees herself as.

"Lighthouse" is the first song standout (I personally would have started the album with it instead of the rather mundane "Speak a Little Louder." It combines synths, strong backing vocals, handclaps, hints of piano and a throbbing beat that veers between 70s pop and modern indie pop and really sets the tone for the album. It's both darker as well as more interesting than almost all of her previous work combined. "Tell Me Tomorrow" has a strong piano line but pairs it with a restrained vocal and lightly upbeat music. If you switched out the piano for a guitar, it wouldn't be out of place on a Faith Hill album.

"It Plays On" is a softer ballad that is borderline magic. Hypnotic and ragged with raw emotion--it's worth the price of the entire album. Also, I cannot stress enough that the normal cd is not what you want-get the deluxe. "Adelaide", "Staring At You", and "Hold On A Little Longer" are massive tracks.

Some people may be surprised to see the appearance of the "[Explicit]" tag after the album title, and it's due to inclusion of "Unf*d" which probably isn't quite what you're imagining. It's one of the few pure piano ballads on the album and is actually one of Diane's most vulnerable and likeable moments. It's honest and so very human.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TheBrizz on March 22, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I first heard Diane Birch a couple years ago on "Live from Daryl's House" and was intrigued enough to find her first album, Bible Belt, on Spotify. I loved pretty much every song on it, and told quite a few friends to look her up and give her a listen. The music on that album was honest, soulful, and organic. This album is not that. I know no artist wants to be called a one-trick pony, with people complaining that all their stuff sounds the same, so I wasn't expecting Bible Belt Part II. But this album does not represent the growth or evolution of an artist's sound; this is an album by an artist who's been told by her record company that she needs to give them more singles, more radio-friendly material. There's only one song on here (Pretty In Pain) that I would hear on the radio and think "hey, that sounds like Diane Birch". The rest is mostly generic pop. So if you like her because of Bible Belt and were hoping for something at least similar, I think you'll be just as disappointed as I am.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Hill on October 26, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I am such a huge fan of this artist, and this album. Where Birch channeled 70's lite-fm in her debut four years ago to incredible artistic success, we find her diving into her inner Tori Amos with a dash of David Bowie (see Superstars). The lyrics are deeply personal and the melodies are superbly crafted and accessible. The production is much more electronic than her previous offerings, which lends a haunting, ethereal quality to the 16 song set (5 bonus tracks!) While her music may inspire you to dust off your turntable and give vinyl another shot (I bet this album sounds incredible on vinyl!), she is neither old-fashioned nor derivative. She is a classically contemporary artist that demands to be heard. Give this album a chance, you won't be disappointed.

Standout tracks: Superstars, Love & War, Frozen Over, Unfkd, Hold On A Little Longer, Truer Than Blue... basically, almost every track is a standout.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Princeton Reader on October 29, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a relatively late-comer to the remarkable talent of Diane Birch. I'm smitten. I started a few weeks ago with her first release, "Bible Belt." It is one of the more thoughtful, inspired recordings of the past 5 years. The purity of Diane's work compares favorably to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Laura Nyro and even a hint of the younger Dionne Warwick. It reminds me of Adele's first album not in sound, but because after one listen so many of the songs seem as if they've been friends for years.

"Speak a Little Louder" is the recent release. It marks a dramatic departure from her prior work, and personal taste will confirm whether it is a good or bad thing. The songwriting remains solid, personal and frequently haunting. The intro to so many tracks tease that this will be the ballad, the pure, stripped-down sound from Bible Belt, with hints of country and R&B and blues. Virtually all, however, quickly move to a modern day wall of sound, overwhelmed by the Homer Steinweiss production. Brooklyn notwithstanding, it's an odd pairing, and one that could have resulted (positively) in a few very big sounding tracks with strings and chorus. Instead, the steady build-up on nearly every track becomes almost formulaic and distracting.

I look forward to seeing her live, hoping to see the smaller band. An "Unplugged" release of these great songs would be fantastic. I'm still smitten, but I think a little less would have been a lot more on "Louder."
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Speak A Little Louder [Explicit]
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