Rachel Platten – Fight Song EP (Columbia)
I first ran across Rachel Platten back in 2008. She was opening a club show at New York’s Canal Room which also featured Lucy Woodward and Toby Lightman. While I was familiar with the other two artists’ work, I didn’t know anything about Platten. I sat in the back of the club with Jim, our photographer, neither of us expecting much of this unknown who was barely even mentioned in the promotion of the show. We figured she was a local artist brought in to keep people in line until the headliners showed up. (I later found out she was actually from Boston.)
We weren’t paying that much attention when Platten sat down at the piano bench. But then a funny thing happened. Platten’s music grabbed us. We started watching her more intently. Jim pulled out the camera and started taking pictures. It was a shortish set, but we were pretty mesmerized. This was a singer who was going places.
In the years since, we’ve seen her a couple more times (in fact we’ll be seeing her tomorrow night with Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri), always opening for other acts and often upstaging them. I bought a few of her indie releases. However, she never quite caught on as we expected.
That was before Taylor Swift.
Apparently the multi-platinum selling artist heard Platten performing and flipped, just like we did seven years ago. She started Tweeting about Platten’s music, telling her multitudes of fans to check her out. Swift also recently brought Platten out on stage to perform in front of 50,000 people at a recent Philadelphia concert stop – a far cry from Platten’s club gigs.
Between Swift’s championing the singer and a nearly ubiquitous Ford commercial that includes the title track, Platten’s finally capturing the attention she so justly deserves. Twelve years on from releasing her first album, she is finally on a major label, Columbia. (Not that being on a major label is always that great a thing at this point in music history.) “Fight Song” is currently the #2 single on iTunes and the EP is in the top 100 album downloads chart.
So Platten has put in the hard work. Is her breakout EP with the wait?
Hells to the yes.
“Fight Song” is a gorgeous ballad of self-empowerment, a smart and musically complex song which feels like a slightly more nuanced version of a Katy Perry smash. The playful pop of “Lone Ranger,” complete with a fun teasing “na-na-na-na” interlude would make a hell of a follow-up single. “Beating Me Up” has a propulsive pop-dance beat which belies the heartbroken lyrics. Then the album closes out with the sultry R&B vibe of “Congratulations,” which Beyonce should cover like right now.
Fight Song is a damn good introduction to an artist who has been toiling in obscurity for way too long. I hope that she strikes while the iron is hot and goes back into the studio soon to get a full-length album out. Four songs is just not enough Rachel Platten.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 10, 2015.