What If It All Means Something

by: Chantal Kreviazuk

When Chantal Kreviazuk began her career in the late '90s, comparisons to fellow Canuck Sarah McLachlan were inevitable and irresistible. With 2003's What if It All Means Something, however, Kreviazuk is for the most part far removed from that ethereal piano-driven style and the album shows a new side of Kreviazuk: less self-absorbed, more at ease with her place in the grand scheme. There is a general theme to be gleaned from her rather lofty title: that of a woman looking with wonder at the sheer largeness of the world and carving personal space within it. For the most part the results are solid, limited only by some unimaginative arrangements and an unfortunate tendency toward repetitive refrains. The undeniably McLachlan-like "In This Life" was a smart choice for the lead single; with its bright lyrics and brisk arrangement, it's easily the best track of the lot. "Time" follows in that tune's sweeping, orchestrated style and is a solid cut in its own right, as is "Waiting," which benefits from a beautifully chosen electric piano melody and some effective yet unimposing backing vocals from Michelle Branch. There are a few dreadful filler tracks -- "Weight of the World" and "Ready for Your Love" being particularly insipid entries -- but on the whole, What if It All Means Something is an enjoyable album, neither arty nor obtuse, yet not a breakthrough on any level. ~ Joseph McCombs

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