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Vanessa Carlton - Heroes & Thieves

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Heroes & Thieves

Vanessa Carlton

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Vanessa Carlton spent much of her second album, Harmonium, running away from the pop success that her 2002 debut, Be Not Nobody, and its inescapable hit single, "A Thousand Miles," brought her, choosing to turn inward and confessional. It was an artistic decision that had a perhaps predictable side effect: it didn't sell nearly as much as the debut, failing to crack the Top 30 and generating not one hit single. Given this sophomore slump, it's not entirely surprising that for her third album, 2007's Heroes & Thieves, she's elected for a compromise between the two extremes: embracing the soft pop that brought her fame without rejecting the confessionals that distinguished her second. Some of this is merely straightforward heartache -- after the 2004 release of Harmonium, Carlton parted ways with Stephan Jenkins, the Third Eye Blind leader who produced the album -- but there are other matters on her mind, as evidenced by the mother-daughter saga "Spring Street" and the line about losing her record deal on the album's opening song and single, "Nolita Fairytale." True, she's moved from A&M to the rap-identified The Inc., but this isn't as drastic a change as it seems: the two labels are within the Universal umbrella, and Carlton has hardly gone hip-hop here. Instead, Heroes & Thieves delivers the expected, even more so than her second album: sweeping gusts of piano, sounds that feel dramatic but not weighty. Like on Be Not Nobody, there's a sense of lightness to Carlton's writing -- even if things get a little sad here, they're not gloomy -- which not only makes her accessible, it means that it's as easy to take this as mood music as it is for introspection. That Carlton doesn't quite provide incentive to dig deeper could be called a flaw -- her voice is too sweet and girlish to command, her melodies mellifluous but not grabbing -- but Heroes & Thieves flows easily, and it's a nice return to the strengths of her debut.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Heroes & Thieves

Vanessa Carlton

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1
Nolita Fairytale Main
00:03:26

Stephan Jenkins, Producer, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Fredianelli, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Piano, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - S. Jenkins, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

2
Hands On Me Album Version
00:03:00

Stephan Jenkins, Producer, Percussion, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - S. Jenkins, ComposerLyricist - Tony Fredanelli, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Melissa Reese, Background Vocalist, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Dionzya Sutton, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

3
Spring Street Album Version
00:04:10

L. PERRY, ComposerLyricist - Eric Schermerhorn, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Linda Perry, Producer, Guitar, Recording Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Piano, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul III, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Chavez, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kristofer Kaufman, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nathan Wetherington, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

4
My Best Album Version
00:02:54

Stephan Jenkins, Producer, String Arranger, Percussion, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Herve Salters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Luis Conte, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - Tony Fredanelli, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leo Kremer, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Michelle Maruyama, Orchestra Leader, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

5
Come Undone Album Version
00:04:32

Stephan Jenkins, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Brad Hargreaves, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - S. Jenkins, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

6
The One Album Version
00:04:05

Stevie Nicks, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Stephan Jenkins, Producer, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - L. PERRY, ComposerLyricist - Sebastian Steinberg, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - S. Jenkins, ComposerLyricist - Tony Fredanelli, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

7
Heroes & Thieves Album Version
00:03:46

Stephan Jenkins, Producer, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Fredianelli, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, MainArtist - Luis Conte, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

8
This Time Album Version
00:03:48

L. PERRY, ComposerLyricist - Paul Ill, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Linda Perry, Producer, Guitar, Recording Engineer, Mellotron, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Piano, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Chavez, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kristofer Kaufman, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nathan Wetherington, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

9
Fools Like Me Album Version
00:03:09

Stephan Jenkins, Producer, Drums, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, MainArtist - Luis Conte, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Abe Laboriel Jr., Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - Tony Fredanelli, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leo Kremer, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

10
Home Album Version
00:05:38

Stephan Jenkins, Producer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, MainArtist - Matt Chamberlain, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - S. Jenkins, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

11
More Than This Album Version
00:04:47

Stephan Jenkins, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Fredianelli, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sebastian Steinberg, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hattie Webb, Harp, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Webb, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vanessa Carlton, Keyboards, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Beresford, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - V. Carlton, ComposerLyricist - Ashkon, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Dionzya Sutton, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Jason Martineau, Orchestra Leader, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2007 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings and I.G. Records, Inc.

Album Description

Vanessa Carlton spent much of her second album, Harmonium, running away from the pop success that her 2002 debut, Be Not Nobody, and its inescapable hit single, "A Thousand Miles," brought her, choosing to turn inward and confessional. It was an artistic decision that had a perhaps predictable side effect: it didn't sell nearly as much as the debut, failing to crack the Top 30 and generating not one hit single. Given this sophomore slump, it's not entirely surprising that for her third album, 2007's Heroes & Thieves, she's elected for a compromise between the two extremes: embracing the soft pop that brought her fame without rejecting the confessionals that distinguished her second. Some of this is merely straightforward heartache -- after the 2004 release of Harmonium, Carlton parted ways with Stephan Jenkins, the Third Eye Blind leader who produced the album -- but there are other matters on her mind, as evidenced by the mother-daughter saga "Spring Street" and the line about losing her record deal on the album's opening song and single, "Nolita Fairytale." True, she's moved from A&M to the rap-identified The Inc., but this isn't as drastic a change as it seems: the two labels are within the Universal umbrella, and Carlton has hardly gone hip-hop here. Instead, Heroes & Thieves delivers the expected, even more so than her second album: sweeping gusts of piano, sounds that feel dramatic but not weighty. Like on Be Not Nobody, there's a sense of lightness to Carlton's writing -- even if things get a little sad here, they're not gloomy -- which not only makes her accessible, it means that it's as easy to take this as mood music as it is for introspection. That Carlton doesn't quite provide incentive to dig deeper could be called a flaw -- her voice is too sweet and girlish to command, her melodies mellifluous but not grabbing -- but Heroes & Thieves flows easily, and it's a nice return to the strengths of her debut.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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