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By Devin Morse
Clean, catchy, and upbeat, Rachel Platten is a nice little twist on an age-old musical formula. Be Here is a pop-frankenstein of sorts – recalling bits of Carole King, Alanis Morissette, Regina Spektor, and The Beatles.
Platten’s voice is light, simple, and squeaky clean: a perfect complement to her music’s carefree gist. Even when the mood and subject matter turn a shade darker, the innocence of her vocals fit the music remarkably well.
The track “Don’t Care What Time It Is” will be on the radio soon enough. The instrumentals fall somewhere between modern reggae and Britney Spears – offbeat piano chords anchored by snappy electronic percussion and well-calculated bits of musical flair. The vocals trade off between a half-sung scat of a verse and a perfectly catchy chorus section. The lyrics revolve around partying and dancing all night at the club, which is exactly where one would expect to hear this song.
The song “Nothing Ever Happens” is a little more low-key. This one is very reminiscent of Regina Spektor – a cutesy orchestral arrangement backed by a light, driving electro-beat and percussive background vocals. Although the vocals are clean and feature only simple embellishment, the lyrics are about how one can best experience life by getting dirty.
Overall, Be Here is well written, well produced, and enjoyable. While the album is by no means groundbreaking or technically excellent, it is an impressive exhibition of catchy pop elements – an example of the finely calibrated recipe that will eventually sell a million or more albums.