Ghost Stories

by: Chantal Kreviazuk

Canadian pop chanteuse Chantal Kreviazuk spent the better part of the time since the release of her superb 2002 album What If It All Means Something writing and producing songs for artists like Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, and Cheyenne Kimball. Essentially, she was "ghost writing" with her considerable talents as a writer, seasoned performer, and mature adult lending weight and substance to younger artists struggling to deliver the pop goods and retain the public's attention. Perhaps for Kreviazuk it offered a way to develop her own muse and shrug off such market-driven concerns. If that is the case, then it should come as no surprise that the aptly titled Ghost Stories, her 2006 return to solo work, is a vibrant and compelling pop masterpiece that in every way builds upon her time writing for others. This is a soulful, enigmatic, and lush album featuring superb production that mixes organic guitars and keyboards with deftly executed orchestral moments. While the piano is still her main instrument of choice, it's been layered into the mix, making room for fully formed arrangements that easily draw favorable comparisons to work by such similarly minded artists as Kate Bush and Björk. Recorded at her home with her husband, Our Lady Peace lead singer Raine Maida, the album showcases Kreviazuk's knack for artful singer/songwriter pop featuring concrete imagery and universally relatable themes like grief, love, and self-doubt. With lines like "I'm alone in this life and these old jeans are too tight and now I can't pick my feet off the floor," it's clear Kreviazuk knows it's the little details of our lives that make a song poignant. A somewhat idiosyncratic and overly precious vocalist early on in her career, Kreviazuk has developed into a compelling, intelligent, and sexy presence on record. Her voice is sanguinely emotive and though she has pristine chops, she reveals now a blues singer's throaty grit that rubs pleasantly at peak moments in her songs. While her work in the shadows of other artists gave her an outlet to grow creatively, ultimately it's the flesh and blood of her talent that truly shines on Ghost Stories. ~ Matt Collar

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