Kristen Hall

Be Careful What You Wish For

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With Be Careful What You Wish For, Kristen Hall really hits her stride. Apparently, the third time's the charm. Her two previous efforts have been very enjoyable, very basic recordings that have documented her progress as a songwriter and artist. But here, it all clicks in. Drummer-producer Jerry Marotta and a slew of guests (Emily Saliers, Matthew Sweet, Jules Shear, and Michelle Malone among them) are the signposts along the journey, but Hall's songs and raspy voice deliver listeners to the destination. From the first notes of "Cry Tomorrow," Hall seems relaxed and easy even though she's baring her soul to the world with every phrase. It's a great opener, overflowing with the hope that tossing caution to the wind and living life to the fullest will often bring. Several tunes resound with the theme of overcoming pain and misery, making this a triumphant, empowering piece of work. Even the tracks that revisit hurtful situations, like "Nothing" and "Proud Man," somehow come off as uplifting. Hall has a sixth sense about melody and lyrics; both come off as simple yet smart. Hers are comfortable, catchy songs with lines that come to mind at just the right moment. Be Careful What You Wish For is brimming with comebacks apropos for almost any occasion, whether involving a romantic breakup, a dysfunctional parent, a new love, an old love, or a therapist. Hall has something for them all.

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