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CD Reviews: Libbie Schrader
Libbie Schrader: Letters To Boys
December 2004
By: Marco Nieves
album cover of Libbie Schrader's Letters To Boys

It's raining on a cozy night. You're tucked in with a lot of volatile memories and in need of heartfelt emotional cleansing. The CD player calls you for a challenge. You stare at Norah Jones, but you want something with more attitude; you notice Dido, but you want something more piano-driven and zestful. Then you stumble upon Libbie Schrader's Letters to Boys. The rain gets louder and the thunder starts to creep in through the drafts. Perfect.

After listening to it, you realize that in this album Libbie is expressing all the pains of unrequited love with unmitigated songwriting, and you can't stop listening to these revelations that bare her soul. Accompanied by enchanting piano-playing and emotive build-ups, it's a mixture of provoked frustration, playful desire, and thwarted recognition. Her whimsical songwriting entraps you with interest at the same time that it ignites a feeling of I-know-exactly-what-she-is-talking-about. The tracks range between mid-tempo piano-pop and cadences that can't go wrong with her soothing, yet curiously vigorous voice. In songs like War on Science and It Breaks Today you get the chance to release with intensity and vehement reason. For contrast you get tracks like Come When I Call and So Close, melodious songs that showcase a beautiful vulnerability that almost obliges her to sing in susurration. This vacillation between emotions doesn't make the album confusing, it covers aspects that complete us as receptive beings, and Libbie has the gift to make it so amazingly palpable. The tracklisting is over but a surprising live track arises in the end in which she finally reassures herself and the man she wants that he will eventually be hers. No better way to end an album full of songs about misfortunes than a track of hope, security and the end of brooking with the fickle men that hover between being-in-love and not-so-much-anymore.

Now the raindrops have turned into a choir, singing about all those times you thought you'd never find the man of your dreams, and the thunder encourages you to keep fighting. The world has much to thank Libbie Schrader for this exceptional new album that surely marks the start of a promising future.