Beth Orton / Pass In Time-The Definitive Collection

Pass In Time- The Definitive Collection

Beth Orton (born Elizabeth Caroline Orton, 14 December 1970) is a BRIT Award–winning English singer-songwriter, known for her ‘folktronica‘ sound, which mixes elements of folk and electronica.[1] She was initially recognised for her collaborations with William Orbit and the Chemical Brothers in the mid 1990s. However, these were not Orton’s first recordings, she had released a solo album, Superpinkymandy, in 1993. Since the album was only released in Japan, it went largely unnoticed by international audiences. Her second solo album, Trailer Park, garnered much critical acclaim in 1996. Orton developed a devoted audience with the release of the albums Central Reservation (1999) and the 2002 UK top 10 album, Daybreaker. In her 2006 release, Comfort of Strangers, she has moved towards a more folk-based sound and away from the electronic sound of her past albums.

The Analysis:

Central Reservation—-Beginning rather acoustic, but slowly picking up in pace, Beth enters with her trademark vocal that is both breathtaking and unmistakable. The words wash over you like a gentle wave…full of emotions and serenity, honesty and blatant truth. This is remarkable….upbeat and at the same time filled with an overwhelming sadness that is unescapable…Orton is a gem!

She Cries Your Name—-At this point in her career, Orton was fully in her ‘folk-tronic’ era. The music is full of small little intricate musical sounds that only serve to highlight Orton’s melancholy vocal and lyric, while also being accessible as hell. Why this woman was not huge is beyond me. The Orbit sound that is provided via the electronic sounds are trademark…there is no mistaking the homage to bands like Portishead….this is stellar…still sounds fresh and still smacks me in the face with the emotional quality as well.

Someone’s Daughter—-This is full of a nice almost funky folk sound that reminds you of summer days when you were a kid and people actually skipped down the street. At the same time, if this catches you in the right mood, it can bring tears to your eyes and devastate your emotions at the same time. this is a remarkable track…the overlays that are on the vocal track give the song this huge layered sound…making me smile and tear up at the same time…of course, that is what music is all about right?

Where Do I Begin—-Really, one of my favorite Orton songs. This combines the wonderful vocal elements that Beth brings to the table and is so laden with the electronic sounds of her early experimentation…I just smile my way through the tears…this is exquisite and speaks to my life at the moment. This is fantastic…a piece of emotional music that can control your emotional flow depending on where you happen to be at the point you hear it.

Stars All Seem To Weep—-This is a surprise from the onset, the ‘electronic’ sounds that emit from your headphones remind you of the beginnings of a West coast Rap track, then Orton enters and steers you in a total different direction. this is the best of indie Folk that you have ever heard, mixed with a remarkable accessible funk beat that actually allows you to listen to the words and digest them…store them and save them up to a later date when you NEED to pull them out again. Fantastic!

Touch Me With Your Love—-Rather quiet and introspective, this track still manages to provide a nice mix of Folk and Electronica. when Beth enters with the ‘chorus’ of the song, you are swept up in a wave of emotion…you believe and feel every single word that she sings…the ghostly electronica only serves to heighten the words and mood…a nice breath of fresh air!

Safety—-This is pure classic acoustic folk that makes me smile as each word is emitted from the throat of Orton. this is honest emotion, relatable and incredibly poignant. The song has the magical ability to elate me and bring me to a precipice of personal danger at the same time. I am incredibly humbled by the honesty and the truthfulness of the words…I am moved!!!

Sugar Boy—-This is another of those Orton tracks that remains a favorite. This seems to speak to me…God knows I have put enough girls through this shit. I love the loneliness and slight anger feel to the vocal. This is as about as honest and as real as you can get. Kudos Beth… least you tell it the way it is.

Galaxy Of Emptiness—-Heavily steeped in that William Orbit kind of Electronica, this is full of moody and transcendent musical sounds that magically take you to the place that you need to be on the given day that you might listen to this. This is remarkably layered and delivered with a trip-hop kind of sound that was very popular in the underground in the mid-90’s…this still sounds remarkable to me…even now!

Pedestal—-This track finds Orton at her very acoustic, Folky best. Delivering one line after another that are designed to rip your emotion to the very fore-front of your brain, this is remarkable. You manage to question everything that you belive in and that you want to believe…whether it is your life or someone else’s. This is transparent as hell…brutally honest and remarkably devastating.

Dolphins—-I really have never liked this song…only the strings excite me…but the rest is a waste to my ears…Sorry!

I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine—-Another of those Orton songs that are instantly recognizable and meaningful to me. This is one of the loneliest vocals I have ever heard…beth delivers line after line that reminds you what a broken heart is all about. This is as emotional and real as it gets. Make no doubt that this is a voice that has experienced both joy and loss…welcome to my world!!!!

Best Bit—-Orton delivers a vocal that is almost to full of urgency for me on this track…the hurried-ness of the song seems to allow for a loss of emotion. The musical landscape is much more rock oriented and seems to rob Beth of some of the emotion that she is more capable of. This is nice, but not a favorite…..

It’s Not The Spotlight—-Wow…this is first time listen for me and it literally tore my heart out….you can’t get much more intense than this. This is stripped down, bare and raw…allowing you to feel every single word that is pronounced. This tears me up…soon to be a favorite on my especially bad days.

Don’t Wanna Know About Evil—-Returning to a more predictable Electronic feel on this track, Orton seems very comfortable with this genre…I’m still confused as to why she managed to abandon the whole thing. The vocal is delivered with a nice reverb that adds even more emotion to the lyrics. this is stellar…wonderful and perhaps an artist at her peak!

The Same Day—-From the onset. this reminds me of a classic Rickie Lee Jones track….full of a slight Blues/Folk that touches me and stays in your brain for hours after you first hear it. Orton delivers a vocal that is drawn out and delivered with slight ennunciations that only seem to heighten the emotional quality of the song. This shit is stellar!!!!

Stolen Car—-Another of those earlier Orton tracks that have remained a very favorite of mine…there was a three CD stretch where it seemed like Orton could do no wrong and then the general public abandoned her and moved on to other things…perhaps I am the most fortunate person in the world for still listening despite what the charts and sales dictated. This is fantasitic…Orton delivers line after line in her rough shoved together sentences that fit every emotion possible all together at once…leaving you in an overload that is exquisite and delicious.

Where Do You Go—-Wow….replendant in strings and acoustic guitar, this is a track that touched my heart from the very first note. this is incredible…Beth sings in a voice that is much lower in tone and more expressive than anything I have ever heard. Think of a deeper Enya with words that actually mean siometing…this is incredible…I could not ask for more than this at this moment.

Sweetest Decline—-Delivered with a huge ode to the blues-jazz feel of low dive bars that cater to the sad, this is remarkable. I love the swell of the strings, the jazz infused piano and the remarkable relaxed feel of the song. This is a favorite….the vocal is so pure and real…i xould never ask for more.

Water From A Vine Leaf—-Well, this has a HUGE Electronic infusion that makes the song incredible from the very first notes. Imagine if Madonna would have taken on this song from Orbit on her Music or Ray Of Light record….I can guarantee you that the public would have digested this with little problem. This track has a nice ambient feel that never strays too much from the original Orton sound…that is what I love about her….expansion without compromise!!!!

Pass In Time—-This is a remarkable duet that manages to leave me as devastated and full of feelings as anything that has been ever releases by Orton. The music is a remarkable blend of Alt-Country and gentle acoustic guitar that sucks you in from the very first notes. this is beautiful, emotional and designed for those in pain….and that feel real emotion!!!!

Concrete Sky—-Another of those iconic songs in the career of Orton, once you hear this track you will be hooked and will return time after time. The vocal and the melody is so remarkable….this is a wonderful mix of Indigo Girls vs. Rickie Lee Jones….you can’t go wrong with either of the three. This is fantastic…a stellar cornerstone in a wonderful career.

Thinking About Tomorrow—-Delivered in a remarkably lazy manner, the acoustic style guitar fits Orton and her deliver so wonderfully. The song is laid-back, warm and full of warm melodies that suck you in and allow you to breathe in the essence of the emotions from beth…this is damn magical.

****3/4 out of 5



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