Kate York seamlessly blends pop, electronica, and folk on her latest album For You. These eleven songs feature the honeyed vocals and introspective lyrics that fans of her previous work (an EP in 2004, and the album Sadlylove in 2006) have come to expect. And once again York delivers a full range of emotions, wrapping them in winsome pop melodies and driving drumbeats.
"I was going nowhere and then you came along," she sings on the title track. "How you broke through like the morning sun." Listening to this airy opening and glancing at the sunny album art, one might assume that For You will play out with an outpouring of happiness. But don't be fooled. As the album unfolds, York's honest lyrics capture the shared experiences of disappointment, heartbreak, and loneliness. "There's a vision of lonely that will not go away," she tells us in Runnin'. "I've been running with these teardrops runnin' down my face, but you're still not washed away."
For me, this recurring image of water in its various forms -- the tears in Runnin', the rain in Summer Rain, the sea in Love Is Like a Melody - demonstrates York's strength, her gift for metaphor. A lesser artist would be unable to avoid the pitfall of cliché, but York sings the sad songs with a quiet resignation. On Rains Here Too, my personal favorite, the singer
It's never as easy as slammin' the door,And she is equally pragmatic on the bleak yet lovely centerpiece, Go. With simple piano accompaniment, York's clear voice concludes, "So we're broken. Guess we were the last to know. If you're goin', go."
When it comes through the ceiling, spills up through the floor.
So I drove all this way to get away from you.
But it rains here too.
But as she told us in the opening track, the sun does break through, and there are moments of optimism here. The poppy Give It Away, with York's voice at its huskiest, encourages us to give love a try ("I know if you don't you might regret it one day"). And the album closes with the inspiring and gospel-like Holdin' On, in which a community of voices joins York on the chorus, insisting, "I've been holdin' on." Despite all the dark moments on For You, Kate York leaves us with a sense of hope. The many facets of her work are well worth exploring.
and an older one:
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