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4.6 out of 5 stars
74
4.6 out of 5 stars
Hotel Paper [Deluxe Edition]
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Price:£8.99


on 27 July 2003
When michelle branch came on to the UK scene it was easy to dismiss her as a typical female atrists however i believe her to be a brilliant young artist and like the first album, hotel paper proves itself well, with strong songs that will keep the audiences keep interested for a long time.
my favourite songs on the album are the title track hotel paper, empty handed and its you, which brings the ballad element to the album. there are few songs that dispoint on this album so it is excellent value for money because of the huge entertainment value that it provides and the it provides guest apperances that will keep many people happy with the choice that it provides.
this is a beautiful album, written from a brilliant artist who i successful as she should be, buy this album and enjoy the talent on offer
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on 14 December 2003
This album is amazing and even better than The Spirit Room! Michelle has out performed herself and the album was worth the wait because it is brilliant! My particular favourites are:
Are You Happy Now?
Breathe
Love Me Like That ft Sheryl Crow
Can't wait for the next one now or a tour would be even better!
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on 16 January 2015
Its funny how our perceptions of and feelings towards things can alter over time. Some things immediately appeal, but looking back can make them seem less attractive. Others don't grab you straight away, but it later occurs to you that it is really rather good after all.

Musically speaking, it's happened to me before. When I bought Matchbox Twenty's first two albums at the same time, I first thought the second was the better of the two. Later, after repeated plays of both, I realised I preferred the first. The same is true of Michelle Branch. I wasn't hugely impressed with either album when I first bought them, rating "The Spirit Room" with three stars, and thinking it was the better of the two. "Hotel Paper" was instantly dismissed, until I felt the urge to play it again recently after a conversation with a fan.

Branch's second album, but her first major release, "The Spirit Room" was decent enough, and not sufficiently bad to put me off buying her latest, but it did seem to be lacking a little something. There were a few too many ballads involved for my tastes, which always sounded less effective in her hands than the up tempo songs, and she didn't seem to have her own style, seeming very similar to artists like Pink, Natalie Imbruglia and, in parts, Lene Marlin.

Combine this with a recollection that this was the lesser of the two albums and I wasn't over keen on another listen. Having been impressed with the way she wasn't using sex to sell records previously, the discovery that she'd taken most of her clothes off for a recent Maxim photo shoot didn't raise Branch in my estimation either. To counter balance this, however, was something I read a while back suggesting that this album was a bit more personal and a little angrier, due to relationship difficulties she suffered during the writing. Whilst I wouldn't wish that on anyone, anger can give music a bit of a harder edge I approve of entirely. As Homer Simpson once said, albeit in a completely different context "...the fire made it good."

The diversity of sounds on the album makes it difficult to pigeon hole it for reasons of "if you like this, you'll like Michelle Branch". I'm more impressed with this album than I was by "The Spirit Room", as a rock fan, but fans of the heavier edges pop artists along the lines of Pink, Amy Studt and Natalie Imbruglia are going to enjoy this album a great deal, I would expect.

If there's a gripe I could have with the album it's that, again, the consistency isn't good. At its best, there's some great music here, but there are also some pretty uninspiring moments, which mostly comprise of the ballads. The inclusion of "Everywhere" is a bit of a rip off for the fan as well.

As a last general moan, my version is one of those controversial "Copy Protected" CDs, so it won't play on my PC. Although this isn't a problem for me as I have other places I can play it on, it might be a consideration for those who play their music solely on the PC.

Although there's a progression from the last album in that Branch is doing more of what she's best at - the rockier tunes - she doesn't seem to have developed a sound of her own. There's nothing special in her vocals and the list of artists she sounds a little like suggest that the music isn't anything greatly original.

However, there is a wider range of sounds, thanks to the collaborations with Sheryl Crow and Santana and at 55 minutes long, it's a good length for an album. I'd rate this slightly higher than "The Spirit Room", although only for these two reasons. If you like your pop music with a rough edge, dive in and enjoy.

At the end of the day, as the title suggests, if this album were a hotel, it would be a Holiday Inn - not terribly welcoming, but quite comfortable once you get inside. While it may never be the first choice of places to visit, you know what you're going to get once you're there, and you'll rarely be disappointed, and rarely be inspired. There's something comforting in knowing there are no surprises, and that's what this album has to offer.

This review may also appear under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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on 23 February 2009
After seeing Michelle Branch perform the amazing track Goodbye to You on the season six episode "Tabula Rasa" of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer I was an immediate fan. And after releasing her hugely successful debut album on a major record label The Spirit Room Michelle is back with her equally brilliant follow up album Hotel Paper.

With fifteen tracks in total (two of those being UK bonus tracks), this album displays a range of impressive songs from Michelle, ranging from the angst filled Are You Happy Now to the upbeat and summer hit Breathe to the title track Hotel Paper. Her duet with Carlos Santana The Game of Love and her debut single Everywhere are also included on the disc as UK bonus tracks. Her style is much more mature this time around and her lyrics seem more adult and grown up as well as boasting more impressive production values than her debut.

The stronger sounding songs on the album include: Are You Happy Now, Find Your Way Back, Breathe, Tuesday Morning, Hotel Paper, Where Are You Now and 'Til I Get Over You and the others although aren't as stand out as these are still easily some of the better songs you could listen to from an artist such as Michelle Branch. I'd say the only weak links on this album is the seemingly pointless into and the final track It's You which is a little dull and monotone compared to the rest of the album.

The two bonus tracks are only featured on the UK version and aren't on the US edition. Everywhere is one of Michelle's finest songs, and probably acts as an incentives for the casual UK buyer to pick up her previous album. The Game of Love is a nice step away from her usual work and she and Santana have crafted a wonderfully upbeat song which although doesn't really fit with the rest of the album is easily a great stand alone listen.

Michelle will soon be returning to her solo career after her work with Jessica Harp which they were known as The Wreckers and released one very successful album Stand Still, Look Pretty which marked Michelle's move to country music which her new album Everything Comes and Goes will be influenced by. This is a fantastic second album and if you aren't already a fan of this talented lady then either this, The Spit Room or Stand Still, Look Pretty are highly recommended.
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on 6 December 2003
Ever since I heard the opening chords of Everywhere I have loved almost everything Michelle Branch has done. So I was understandably very excited to get my hands on this new album and I was expecting great things. It does not disappoint. The style is relatively similar to her previous album, with a few exceptions, the production is far stronger on this album, string arrangements back several of the tracks and a much wider variety of instruments are used. Michelle sings with the smae heartfelt passion she always has, except this time the songs she sings are based on real experiences of hers, and I think her vocal performance benefits from this.
From the powerful hate-fuelled chorus of first single, 'Are You Happy Now?' to singing against almost orchestral like production on 'Empty Handed' the album provides far more of a workout for Michelle's voice than the Spirit Room ever did.
If there is one personal disappointment on the album for me it has to be 'Love Me Like That', a duet with Sheryl Crow, it just doesn't grab me the way the other tracks do and I don't think the way it's sung really suits either of the two women. It's too fast paced.
A particular highlight is the final track (before the bonuses) 'Till I Get Over You. This track is filled with even more emotion than most and you can almost see Michelle sitting on a windswept clifftop somewhere strumming her guitar and singing this song.
So with all this praise why isn't it better than The Spirit Room? 'Love Me Like That' has a lot to do with it, The Spirit Room is an album with no weak tracks, this has one.
Even so though it may not be better than her last album, it is as good a follow up as I dared hope for. Fantastic
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on 18 July 2003
Michelle Branch is undoubtedly talented, offers a interesting and beautiul voice and a range of thought provoking and more mature lyrics. Michelle's come a long way from ther debut, 'The Spirit Room' Despite critcisms that her music has not moved on from this era, I would tend to diasgree. Why fix it when its not broken? It is sadly true that Michelle does not have the appeal she omits in the states- cant you just imagine the teenagers in their convertibles driving along to this? Michelle's music offers cathcy summery guitar pop. In comparison to the spirit room, fans will agree the music is stronger and slightly more moodier. The album begins with the single 'Are You Happy Now?' a fantastic intro- yet sets a misguided tone- this song is angry and punchy- a good kickstart. Find Your Way back, tuesday morning and empty handed perhaps a slightly blander expression of michelle's talent- but again these are simply here to set the mood to this album a perfect summer piece of pop. By 'One of these days' we are seeing the more vunerable and sentimental side to michelle- more pianos and a more frank and sweeping lyrical jouney.
One of the album's highlights is 'Love Me like That' a duet with sheryl crow.The song has notes of country and western themes, provides a good landscape for the two to work with-however I felt that Sheryl was slightly drowned out.
My two favourite songs on the album have to be 'Desperately' and 'Breathe'. Desperatley, a return to michelle's moody side, also represents the sultry side to michelle, the song is sexy and sweetly sung. Breathe is pure pop perfection- a rounded singable chrous- classic michelle- but shows her music has moved onto a more maturer level but enough to satisfy her audience with a melodic and great singing in the shower song- a feel good tune that promotes michelle's best features- her voice, her lyrics and her ability to play instruments.Hotel Paper, the title track is perhaps some what of a disappointment- it has great charsima and excites the audience into a false sense of security when the song lacks powerfulness- a bit middle of the road. 'Til I Get Over You' Again, a song to relate to which is the key to its apeal- here michelle had french lessons to insert french lines to the song- which makes this song a bit different to the others- however it lacks again the spark that sets the song alight- it falls slightly on its face. However, the album soons begins to finish off with the bonus tracks-'Everywhere' from her first album and 'The Game Of Love' with the legend Santana. The closing track is called 'Its You'- makes a good closer, its a bit of an answer to the earlier 'desperatley'- again the sexy sultry mood, but it is slgihtly forgettable. Despite this, when the album finsihes i felt pleased- although slightly predictable Michelle reaches the gap in the UK Market which unfortunately not many are warming to. If you're looking for something different- and already enjoy the likes of vanessa carlton, avril lavigne,and delta goodrem- with michelle you'll get the catchiness of avril (yet minus the overused angst) the talent of delta and vanessa's lyrical magic and image. Overall an excellent follow up but there's still room for improvement, hopefully we'll see it sometime soon!
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on 27 June 2003
Being a fan of Michelle for over a year and a half now I was really looking forward to her next release. Her two past releases Broken Bracelet (Indie/Independant album) and her major release The Spirit Room were both great albums in which Michelle brought her own sound and feeling. On Hotel Paper however it seems that Michelle hasn't quite decided what route she is going to take with her music. You can tell when listening to the tracks that there was a little experimentation going on.
This is fairly evident on the first single from the album "Are You Happy Now" which had a strong Alanis Morissette feeling to it. But there aren't really any other tracks on the album which have this sound. The closest you really get is the two tracks "Empty Handed" and "Breathe" which seem to show an angrier side of Michelle that we haven't seen before and are more rock than the other tracks.
We get a completely different sound on "Love Me Like That" which is a duet with Sheryl Crow. It has a great country tinge that really sets off the song and separates it from the others. The problem I have with that song is that Sheryl Crow is far underused and it almost seems like it was a cameo of sorts. Ohh look here's a famous person. She only gets to sing 4 lines on her own and when singing with Michelle you can't really here her. However this is probably one of my favourite tracks of the album and I am hoping that it will be the next single. It's catchy and it's good to see Michelle Branching out. (No pun intended, honest)
Other stand out tracks include "Tuesday Morning" and the title track "Hotel Paper" Also on the European release you get "Game of Love" as an extra track, sucks for the Americans I guess. It's fairly evident that Michelle's song writing has improved and she wrote more of the tracks solo on this album, over half in fact.
One of the problems I had with Spirit Room was that it was way over produced. That was the only reason that I preferred Broken Bracelet because I think just Michelle and her guitar gives a much better sound. Fortunately a lot of the producing seems to have been toned down this time round and I for one am grateful for it.
As a whole this album doesn't seem to stand up as well as her last two because of the problem with her style that I already mentioned. However it is one of the better releases of the past few months and I would recommend it to my friends. She has managed to distance herself from Vanessa Carlton, as their sounds are now completely different. But I'm sure people out there will undoubtly compare her to Avril Lavigne even though Michelle Branch got there first, she just wasn't as popular the first time round. If Michelle decides where she wants to head in her next album I'm sure it will blow everything else away.
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on 11 July 2003
Something always confuses me about Michelle Branch's music,I did not know why I liked it when I first heard it !I bought "The Spirit Room" just over a year ago and loved it,my rational music student mind kept insisting that it was girly guitar pop rubbish but there was something about it that I adored.Eventurly I came to the conclusion that Michelle Branch is a talented young lady,who who can write great pop songs without needing skate fashion gimmicks like certain other female pop/rock performers."Hotel Paper" is in a similar guise to "The Spirit Room",however it does show a new maturity in Michelle's voice."Hotel Paper" also includes performances from Sheryl and Rock God,Dave Navvaro.
The album can easily be played through without having to skip tracks as all songs are of a high standard but "Are you happy now?","Tuesday Morning" ,"Love me like that" and "Breathe" stood out specifically.Michelle Branch's music does seem to benefit from the fact that it is very well produced, which gives great depth to much of the recording, with occasional splashes of light synths or gentle electronic beats.
Overall, I loved this album,but like her previous release I believe this album will turn out to be "a grower" and I firmly belive I will be able to listen to it in three years time and still enjoy it.Just leave your asumptions at the door when you buy this album,forget the fact that she's 19 and a girl and just listen to the music! Highly Recommended!
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on 8 July 2003
Michelle Branch has really come into her own with this great follow up to "Spirit Room". Her song writing has matured so much since her last release, leaving only the sky as her limit in what she can achieve in her career. I think she will go even beyond that as, unlike Avril (Kinda the same mould) she is the writing brains behind her music and doesn't need the abilities of the likes of "The Matrix" to get her ideas across. Although no doubt John Shanks who was used once again and had some input in this Album, leave in no doubt that this album is all Michelle. I was disappointed in the inclusion of "Everywhere" as some sort of plug for converts to buy the "Spirit Room" but felt that had she toured on the back of that album instead of a few low key radio tours we wouldn’t need such repeats fillers to plug an older album but maybe this was an exec decision and not hers. She has come a long way since "Broken Bracelet" and good luck to her and she deserves it in very very huge amounts. Highlights for me are "Are you happy now", Find your way back", "Breathe", "Tuesday Morning" and the great “Love me like that” with Sheryl Crow. Check this album out I promise you will not be disappointed. BUT PLEASE MICHELLE A TOUR IN THE UK THIS TIME WOULD BE THE BEST WAY TO GET THIS GREAT MUSIC WELL AND TRULY OUT THERE. WELL DONE MICHELLE ON A GREAT ALBUM.
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on 9 July 2003
After enjoying Michelle Branch's previous album, "The Spirit Room", I was very much looking forward to hearing "Hotel Paper". This album has a different sound to her earlier album, replacing a poppy sound with a harder guitar sound. Some people may criticise this album for being "Dawson's Creek-esque music", but is that such a bad thing?!!
The album opens with the very strong and powerful "Are You Happy Now?" yet this is perhaps the most angst-ridden track of the album, the other songs seem calmer and more reflective, but none the less emotional. I noticed that Michelle's voice and lyrics have matured a great deal, perhaps she has had more life experiences to write about; whatever, its good!
There are two bonus tracks on this album; her duet with Santana ("The Game of Love") and an earlier track which was on her previous album ("Everywhere"). As well as this, there is an interesting duet with Sheryl Crow, which is perhaps a little bit eccentric sounding, but an interesting comparison of Michelle's voice and style compared with Crow.
On this album, Michelle tells us that she writes mostly on hotel paper; perhaps this is a winning formula for her, as it seems to have worked out just fine here!
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