2008 release from the Juno and Gemini-nominated Canadian singer/songwriter, published poet, accomplished painter and renaissance woman, her first album of new material in over three years. This is Slean's fourth studio album since she debuted on the music scene in 1997. Since her debut, she's also managed to release three EPs and a live album, each of them earning her more fans and more critical accolades. 12 tracks. Warner.
Sarah Sleans recipe for her musical concoctions is unwaveringly consistent: take a handful of Cabaret-affected melodies, add a sprinkle of musical theatre, then steep that all together in a stockpot of fragile but powerful emotions. With some of the singers earlier releases, Slean seemed to be trying terribly hard to sound deep and wise; thankfully, that quality has softened somewhat over time. As a result, the music on her fifth CD The Baroness
flows more effortlessly and beautifully than any of her previous works. The discs first single Get Home is by far the most impressive track on the disc, an incredibly arresting breakup song written from the point of the other woman as she tells her lover to head back home to his wife. It is the first in a handful of tracks that showcase her growth as a songwriter, further separating her from the artists that she has frequently been compared to in the past, ranging from Kate Bush to Fiona Apple. Slean admittedly does revisit the Cabaret style occasionally (Hopeful Hearts, Euphoria) but it is the sparse musical moments of her and her piano where the singer shines the brightest. Noteworthy highlights include Goodnight Trouble -- which has a Pink Floyd-esqueness to it as the song rises from its din to a resounding orchestral rock peak -- and Please Be Good To Me a Leonard-Cohen-meets-Reba-McEntire number that is dense with ache and beauty. --Denise Sheppard