Vanessa Peters: Modern Age (2021)
With barely a month left 'til I have to assemble my annual Year In Review mix (yes, I've got these dating back to 1966, you can check them out on my home page), I've been running through my picks to date. And here's an album I keep circling back to, the latest from oft-overlooked but terrific singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters. On this one, she casts aside the folkie Americana that has accented much of her prior work and amps things up a bit, adding some guitar crunch, while retaining her gentle mid-tempo vibe.
The songs are consistently lovely, an assortment of heartbreaks and longings, delivered in her dry, seen-it-all tone that's both jaded yet still somehow hopeful. It's overall the sort of thing that seems like it should hook the pop radio demographic--it's not hard to hear this as the work of Taylor Swift 10 years down the road--but there's no accounting for taste, I suppose. The opening title track is a rousing rocker, shades of 90s alt.rock in a Liz Phair/Jen Trynin vein, while "Crazymaker" is perfect pop that works the FM middle-of-the-dial zone but with much more personality. It's a sweet little album that worms its way into your heart, hard not to embrace. Give it a spin, then check out her rich back catalog. Buy it on Bandcamp.