Author Topic: Vanessa Carlton Essay  (Read 2098 times)

AisforAdrn

  • Your true colors shown
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
  • Boots on concrete...
    • View Profile
Vanessa Carlton Essay
« on: October 19, 2011, 11:42:00 pm »
So I know this is totally cheesy but I had to write a persuasive essay for my English Class. I couldn't think of anything to write about or anything that I was so passionate about. So I thought of Vanessa! So I wrote this essay about why I think she's a lyrical genius and one of the most important artists of our generation. Enjoy.

Quote
   Vanessa Carlton: One Hit Wonder or Musical Genius?
   “Making my way downtown, walking fast, faces passed and I’m homebound” Ok, not stuff of lyrical genius, but Vanessa Carlton, an American singer/songwriter, has so finely tuned her craft that she has come a long way from the innocent and naive lyrics that made up the biggest song of her career. Carlton was born in Milford, Pennsylvania in 1981. At the age of 2 she began playing the piano, a bit of a prodigy, she found herself at the foot of her family’s piano playing the melody to “It’s a Small World” after a trip to Disneyland. At the age of 14, Carlton left her hometown to move to New York City by herself, to attend the very prestigious School of American Ballet, preceded by dance legend George Balachine. After leading as the top of her class and about to graduate, Vanessa found herself lost and searching for something that was desperately missing from her life. That’s when she found an old piano in her ballet school dorm. It was then that she decided that she was going to leave dance and pursue her love for piano and song writing. 9 years, 4 albums, and 3 Grammy nominations later, Carlton has made a name for herself in the music world. Though, not one you’d expect for someone who has 3 Grammy nominations under her belt. She’s not making number 1, chart topping hits anymore and her past three albums have failed to land high on the Billboard charts. But there’s something about the way she’s approached her career and art and her creative process that makes her special, and in my opinion, one of the most talented and underrated artists of our generation.
   One of the main reasons why I believe she is so talented is her creative process. The usual for artists these days is to get beats or music sent to them already made by producers and musicians. They also often have songs written for them that are pretty much an algebraic equation. Producers have a way to add one plus one to equal a hit record. And it’s pretty obvious because songs on the radio all sound very similar. Vanessa takes a very different approach. First off, Carlton writes and composes all of her own music. “Vanessa Carlton got the songwriting bug at age 8: “I had just seen Amadeus,” she says. “I think I wanted to be the madman writing notes out under the wax-dripping candelabra.1 For her last album Rabbits on the Run, Carlton wanted to go back to her roots. “As she returned home to New York City and tentatively ventured back into songwriting, though, Carlton knew that things had changed. "I had no one," she says. "I was completely self-contained, I left my label, had no producer. So this was me going back to the demoing process that I was doing when I was 17. In my writing, I didn't want to waste words anymore. It was a total arts-and-crafts vibe that I was doing all by myself."2
   Her creative process had also changed. She went from grabbing inspiration from anywhere she could, forcing melodies to work, and settling for less than she wanted to doing everything her own way. For 2 years, she became a recluse, sitting back, observing life as it went by. Melodies on the piano come easiest to the singer though, saying that lyrics take more time and not wanting to settle for filler words, she feels like just because it sounds like it should be a lyric doesn’t mean it should be. “When I hear Tom Petty, Tom Waits or Johnny Cash or Stevie Nicks I know exactly what they mean. Their philosophies are so strong, the vibe, what the message is. Clarity. Also, I try not to allow myself to generalize. I believe the heart of a story lies in the details…the searing details… and no cliches.”  That’s the reason why she’s just so different from contemporary pop artists these days. Her mind is constantly going to a place of evolution and her aesthetic is always to stay true to herself and not what’s hip and on trend right now. Even from where she draws inspiration from is radically different from artists nowadays. She is inspired by literature, city streets, neighborhoods, poetry, and other artists she has worked with before. Some of the most influential have been Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History in Time, Richard Adams’s story of a rabbit society Watership Down, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, who has been a mentor to her, and her parents vinyl collection. It’s these kinds of things that shape her and her music.
   Even the content of her work is genius. She takes simple thoughts and ideas and twists them into something radically different. She makes you see through a very different point of view and it’s quite amazing. In her song “I Don’t Want to Be a Bride” she talks of something radically different from most perspectives, as most women her age are grasping for their identity and thinking that they will find it in a marriage, she is taking a huge step away from it. “That song is about giving yourself permission to custom carve out what love means to you. I’ve heard a couple women singing songs about wanting to get married, but what about the other side of the spectrum?”3 (News Public Radio) Even from her earlier work, she has always had an eye for the extra ordinary and the truth. Fools Like Me is the tale of a person who realizes that letting yourself be completely blind sided by love is not always the smartest thing. “At least I can say, I was not afraid, and loved you all the way, I’d pick the fool any day.”
   Her way of recording and physically working on music is also fantastic, an old school aesthetic, but still very true to her own. She recorded her last album at Real World Studios with Steve Osborne in the English Countryside. She recorded everything to analogue tape, something that is rarely done these days in the music industry, as it’s expensive and time consuming. “Notably, in keeping with her rediscovery of hearing analog sound on vinyl, Carlton wanted to track Rabbits on the Run exclusively to tape. “I was all up for it,” Osborne says. “It does take a little bit longer, but she was very keen on the tape.”4 Rabbits is exactly that. Listening to her latest effort, the concept and idea is so crystal, the alchemy of the instruments, her vocals, and the lyrics is like taking a midnight walk through London’s cobblestoned streets, you can almost feel the moon shining on you and the thick fog surrounding you. There is an air to the music that is chilling and refreshing, yet 70’s drenched at the same time.
   Her attempt to going back to her demo style ways has proven valiant but not successful. In no way does this music compare to her work when she first started out. She used to be naive, young, and wistful in her music and approach. She has now matured and grown into an actual artist, who’s work is defining a moment in time and taking a polaroid of a feeling that has yet to be captured on an album that I’ve heard in the past 10 years. "I felt like I wasn't navigating, but the time was navigating me," says Carlton. "I wasn't manipulating the process at all. I got to that place where you don't think about how you're going to do it, you just do it in the way that feels the most clear and right. That shouldn't be so exotic, but I'd never gone through it before."5 Vanessa Carlton is an underrated artist, who’s proven time and time again that she is the stuff of what legends are made of. And to her, it’s not an issue. As long as people are listening, she’ll keep on creating. I’m positive if you give her an honest chance, she will take hold of your heart and never let go.

Peace
Adriann

[sobriquet]

  • Fine as dandelions
  • *****
  • Posts: 1635
  • And love comes back around again.
    • View Profile
Re: Vanessa Carlton Essay
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 02:37:33 am »
I haven't had the time to read the whole thing, but is the last line was the very thing Stevie said during her performance with V in Sunset sessions?

Floating on the sea, stars are watching me. Currents take me out, what will be will be.

AisforAdrn

  • Your true colors shown
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
  • Boots on concrete...
    • View Profile
Re: Vanessa Carlton Essay
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 09:15:11 pm »
Yeah!
Peace
Adriann

beautydivine

  • Your true colors shown
  • *****
  • Posts: 534
  • Thanks for everything, V
    • View Profile
Re: Vanessa Carlton Essay
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 10:14:49 pm »
I haven't had the time to read the whole thing, but is the last line was the very thing Stevie said during her performance with V in Sunset sessions?

A bold statement indeed. I like that finishing touch at the end. But, I haven't read the entire essay yet either. I will sometime soon!

sarab

  • You never thought it'd hurt so bad
  • *****
  • Posts: 2453
  • Wolves howl to a moon and she never answers back
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Vanessa Carlton Essay
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 11:29:26 pm »
What a great essay!  I love how you work in all the quotes and the one from Stevie is just priceless and so true! (though you should probably site that as a quote). I like the content of the third paragraph a lot I think you should add to it!  I also like the progression and sequence you have the paragraphs in, it keeps the essay moving forward.
some constructive criticism?
Some details could be explained a little more.  I think someone reading this who does not know Vanessa's history might be a little confused.  The first area is the in the intro.  You write about how she was a piano prodigy but then she moves to NYC for ballet?  There should be a little tid bit about her also loving dance in there.  In the first paragraph there really isn't an explanation of her approach from first album to last album (I don't know if you wanted that in there or not, but it might work if you did add it since you do reference "her roots").  If I were editing this essay I would also make some minor changes with punctuation and sentence structure/variation.
Overall I think the bones are great!
I hope I don't offed with my constructive cirticism!
Did you already submit the essay?
~Sara~

AisforAdrn

  • Your true colors shown
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
  • Boots on concrete...
    • View Profile
Re: Vanessa Carlton Essay
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2011, 10:07:44 pm »
I did already submit it, I wrote the essay in like...an hour. Haha so I'm sure I'll be getting it back with everything you just said to me in red marker. But it's all good, I can revise.
Peace
Adriann

sarab

  • You never thought it'd hurt so bad
  • *****
  • Posts: 2453
  • Wolves howl to a moon and she never answers back
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Vanessa Carlton Essay
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2011, 11:35:09 pm »
I did already submit it, I wrote the essay in like...an hour. Haha so I'm sure I'll be getting it back with everything you just said to me in red marker. But it's all good, I can revise.

That's pretty good for an hour!
~Sara~

AisforAdrn

  • Your true colors shown
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
  • Boots on concrete...
    • View Profile
Re: Vanessa Carlton Essay
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 09:11:04 pm »
Yeah dude I started it wayyyyyyyy too late. Haha turns out, I didn't have to actually send it in for another week. I did it a week freaking early..oh well! :)
Peace
Adriann