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Michelle Branch came to fame as a teenager with her album The Spirit Room. She released Hotel Paper two years later in 2003 but Everything Comes and Goes, released in 2010, is her first solo record since then. During the intervening period, Michelle got married, had a baby and recorded an album with country singer Jessica Harp under the name of The Wreckers. Without (as yet) enough material for a full album, she decided to release this EP (extended play - another name for a record longer than a single but shorter than a conventional album).
Whereas Michelle's previous music was cheerful guitar pop, Everything Comes and Goes leans heavily towards country. This put me off a little at first, as I'm not a fan of country music, but the album grew on me considerably.
Opening track Ready to Let You Go is an uptempo country track in which Michelle states she has got over an ex-lover. "Maybe someday the truth will set you free / Until that day keep your lying hands off me", she sings, to backing guitars and country-style strings. Sooner or Later continues the confident, defiant stance: "Sooner or later, you're going to wish you had me". It is still influenced by country but has more of the pop-rock vibe of Michelle's earlier work.
I Want Tears is a country-influenced ballad, possibly my favourite song on this CD. On it, Michelle sings about wanting to express emotion to save a relationship, rather than keeping everything inside. Crazy Ride is a sweet song, possibly inspired by Michelle becoming a mother. "Heaven knows that it's a crazy ride, it's never perfect all the time", she sings to her child, knowing that "soon you'll grow up" and be out in the world alone.
Summertime is a wistful, evocative song that looks back to a previous perfect relationship one summer, while title track Everything Comes and Goes is a reflective, quietly optimistic ballad.
Though I was unconvinced at first by Michelle's new country style, this mini album has really grown on me. Each track is really well crafted and stands out - you get more good songs here than you might do on a full-length but patchier album by another artist. I would prefer, though, to have seen more uptempo songs rather than ballads - I Want Tears is brilliant but the others don't match up in my opinion to the first two tracks. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what Michelle does next.
1. Ready to Let You Go
2. Sooner or Later
3. I Want Tears
4. Crazy Ride
6. Everything Comes and Goes