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STARific Review: Chely Wright - The Metropolitan Hotel

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Chely Wright fans will be delighted to know that she is back on the scene with her sixth studio album! The Metropolitan Hotel is – in the truest sense – a labor of love for Chely; it consists of twelve priceless gems, eight of which she wrote or co-wrote. She also had a hand in producing and/or co-producing every track found here. All of the above has resulted in her most personal album to date.

After putting forth ten plus years in the music business, Chely starts off by affirming what keeps her going: “It’s not the pay...it’s not the fame...IT’S THE SONG.” Given the title alone, BACK OF THE BOTTOM DRAWER sounds like it would be any other break-up song. Quite the contrary, however! In this beautifully written ballad, Chely and co-writer Liz Rose shine a positive light on the impact of previous relationships. Like the preceding track, I GOT HIM READY FOR YOU recognizes the value of letting go – even if it doesn’t always produce the expected or desired result. Conflicting emotions rage tragically throughout THE RIVER, a song taken directly out of a past chapter in Chely’s life. After all, how could something so seemingly peaceful do so much harm?! JUST THE WAY WE DO IT paints a realistic view of true love. THE BUMPER OF MY S.U.V. packs a prolific punch toward a most unfounded prejudice. This ballad was inspired by a true incident, and to Chely’s credit, authentic feelings are expressed through a poignant message, without ever using a harsh word or criticizing tone. A haunting essence lingers in the form of YOUR SHIRT with sentimental memories plastered all over it. Clashing viewpoints BETWEEN A MOTHER AND A CHILD drives the latter to plead for understanding from the former. It is songs like this one that hold evidence to Chely’s paramount gift for expressing tried and true emotions through words and music! Hitting rock bottom provides opportunity to weed through the SOUTHSIDE OF LONESOME. You better believe it – this thing called life isn’t always gonna be candy and roses! Next, WHEELS of a love taken for granted derails and fights to get back on track. The feel-good toe-tapper C’EST LA VIE (YOU NEVER CAN TELL) balances out some of the other emotionally-heavy tunes. Some old flames refuse to extinguish, leaving one to ponder WHAT IF I CAN’T SAY NO AGAIN in the album closer.

Lyrically clever, musically and realistically original, every track on this album glows radiantly! For listeners wanting to know Chely Wright artistically and personally, check into The Metropolitan Hotel and you will find yourself looking through a window to her heart!

Reviewed by: Estella Pan

CD INFO:

Chely Wright
The Metropolitan Hotel
Released February 22, 2005
Dualtone Records

Chely Wright

TRACK LISTING:

1. It's the Song
2. Back of the Bottom Drawer
3. I Got Him Ready For You
4. The River
5. Just the Way We Do It
6. The Bumper of My S.U.V.
7. Your Shirt
8. Between a Mother and a Child
9. Southside of Lonesome
10. Wheels
11. C'est La Vie (You Never Can Tell)
12. What If I Can't Say No Again

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