Because of her piano-driven songs and overall dark tone, Rachael Yamagata has been frequently compared to Fiona Apple. Such comparisons should be qualified: Yamagata is better than Apple.
Where Apple has the sexiness (especially with her video for “Criminal”), Yamagata has the broken-hearted ex-lover down perfectly. “I love you with my whole heart/until it burns,” she emotes on “Even So.”
It also helps that Yamagata is not as intense as Apple. Yamagata cut short an interview with Rolling Stone because her pizza had arrived. Apple would cut off an interview because the interviewer would insult her by asking why the title to her third album is a three-part novel.
It is not often that you find music with soul, especially with artists like Destiny’s Child and 3 Doors Down dominating the airwaves. There’s no way that either artist could come up with a song like “1963,” a throwback to early Motown with an added piano to kick it up a little. Yamagata pours her heart into her music, and it is impossible not to become enthralled by her breathy delivery. Songs like “Worn Me Down” and “Letter Read” address the pain of being lied to, cheated on and then dumped despite everything that she has done.
Essentially, Yamagata is the female version of Bright Eyes, without the lengthy meandering of Oberst. Yamagata is just as engaging and, like Bright Eyes, leaves you either feeling happy that you never had to deal with the guys that she is singing about or knowing exactly what she is talking about. That is what a true artist is supposed to do: evoke emotion and involve the listener.
Rachel Yamagata: www.rachaelyamagata.com