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It's good, but not as good as Marry Me...
on October 23, 2009
All I had heard of this album was that it was better than her debut album Marry Me, which I greatly enjoyed. And while it's a good album, it's not better than Marry Me. In fact, I'd say it's the other way around.
If you appreciated the complex arrangements of the first, it's quite noticeable that, as stated by the artist, she used Garage Band to compose the music. There's a fairly overbearing drumbeat through most of the tracks that I felt distracted from the arrangements for which she was previously known. The enjoyable tempo shifts and changes in pace that worked so well in the first album are disguised by that same beat that seems to plod along throughout the entire song. This does seem to cease at around track 8, but that doesn't leave a lot of the album left.
What I appreciated about the first album was it's intricate structure, melody and harmony, that came from a wide range of sources, (Marry Me contained everything from violin and cello to upright bass and vibraphone) and how all those sources interacted and/or clashed to form the structure of the songs. Actor offers little, save for a distracting, overbearing, seemingly electronic beat, to substitute for the wide array of instruments used on the first, which, despite what other reviewers have stated, is much more musically dense than Actor.
Marry Me is a much better album, in my opinion, in structure and content. As such, it's not that this album's bad, it's just not as good as it's predecessor. Here's hoping for a return to form on the next album.