Charlotte Cornfield - The Shape Of Your Name - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Charlotte Cornfield - The Shape Of Your Name

by Kevin Orton Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-05
Charlotte Cornfield - The Shape Of Your Name
Charlotte Cornfield - The Shape Of Your Name

Charlotte Cornfield’s The Shape of Your Name begins with ‘June’, “Your lips are loose and full of ego”, Cornfield discloses on a lonely piano. “. “I just want to hold you in my human arms.” It’s an inviting opener.

While her press release name checks Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt, Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos are more the mark here. Vocally, Cornfield has all the quirks and affectations common with her generation. Bending notes and syllables in a manner of pronunciation that one never uses in real life. For instance, singing, “how” like “hahh woo”. It seems to have inflicted young female vocalists like a virus. A fashion that nowadays, verges on self-parody. (For a counter to all this nonsense, check out a singer-songwriter named Vienna D’Amato Hall). Fortunately, Cornfield doesn’t lay it on with a trowel like some others I could mention. And despite that, the clarity of her songwriting rings consistently true throughout. 

‘Storm Clouds’ begins with church organ and soon kicks into a low key, sardonic Aimee Mann mode. A beautiful melody with hits of storms to come. “Elation, desire, mania, darkness,” she sings. ‘Balladeer’ finds Cornfield alone again at the piano. “I’m a balladeer, I can take the fall,” she wryly muses. Gorgeous, intelligent and heartfelt stuff. In terms of songwriting Cornfield is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

On ‘Andrew’ she seeks to comfort a friend through heartbreak and shake them out the malaise of self-pity. “I want to get under your skin and mess with you,” she confesses. “You make me sad like an undergrad with a guitar on,” she continues with tongue in cheek humor. It’s a song that comes and goes with a shrug full of potent subtext. ‘Silver Civic’ finds Cornfield all too knowingly in Andrew’s shoes, ruminating on a failed relationship. “Like a flower in a drought.”  A positively stunning tune that gives heartbreak a bittersweet hand on the cheek.  

In many ways, Cornfield reminds me of a more laid-back Caroline Rose. They have similar vocal ticks and range. Not to mention, a penchant for whip-smart, ironic songcraft. But admittedly, it’s a superficial comparison. Musically, they’re both coming from different places. Cornfield seems more rooted in holding the torch for the confessional singer-songwriter tradition of Carol King, James Taylor, and Elton John. Songs like ‘Wheels’ aren’t trying to reinvent them, so much as keep them spinning to someplace real. Where more upbeat numbers like ‘Up The Hill,” sound shopping mall pleasant and conventional, on piano ballads like, ‘Peonies’ Cornfield is in full bloom. She is truly a balladeer. And the world needs balladeers.

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