Review: By The Way, I Forgive You by Brandi Carlile

Reviewing Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You is a bit hard, admittedly, because the first single off it, “The Joke”, is a one-off, and a powerful one-off. A sweeping paean to the forgotten ones, Brandi utilizes her vocals to the fullest and brings perhaps the most cathartic song of 2017 (and 2018). It’s also a song that’s poised to break her out even further, considering the times we live in now – which is a bit unusual, considering that her strength has always been her songwriting, something “The Joke” doesn’t fully exhibit. I like that song, but don’t come into the record expecting more than that. Instead, it’s subtler than that: take “Whatever You Do” and “The Mother”, whose intentions come up behind you when you least expect it. Still, it’s a satisfying album: Brandi is effortless, and when you think she’s just going through the motions, she pulls a surprise. She can sell it. We all know that. Maybe more will, soon. [NB] | 4/5

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