The cover of Amanda B. Perry’s ‘By Special Request’ is just absolutely gorgeous. There’s no other way to put it. I honestly think I’ve been putting off reviewing this one just because I like having it sitting on my desk to look at. The cover makes me feel warm and hopeful but also makes me feel strong and independent at the same time. All of these feelings are things I hope to hear in this eleven-song album so let’s stop wasting time and just jump right in!
I’ll be honest, as “Fade” started playing, it was not what I was expecting. I think, for some reason, I expected a very high and soft voice to come out of Amanda but, instead what I got was a stunning voice full of power and depth. Although I was surprised, it didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels for Amanda and her sound. Her voice easily takes the spotlight in this opening track other than a few moments when the harmonica part really took over. The amount of command that Amanda can bring with just her voice had me stunned and in awe throughout this opening track.
“Old Love New” brings the soft side of Amanda’s vocals to the forefront. Still full of power, there’s just a little bit more tenderness in each word during this track. This song is very soundtrack-y meaning I could easily see it pairing up nicely with a scene in a blockbuster movie. It has mass appeal but also stands out to me as something new and unique making it perfect to really enhance a scene in a movie. Even though “Necklace” is much more subdued and laidback, I could also see this one being in a movie. Hell, I think every one of Amanda’s tracks could be in a movie. They are all just so emotive and full of passion that they would truly only enhance a scene in a movie or moment in your life. Although not my typical type of music, each of these songs thus far has given me flashbacks to different moments throughout my life. The only way a song can do that is through power and conviction both of which Amanda nails so exquisitely.
The mood stays more towards the somber side for “Off The Ground”. This was a favorite of mine because it just left me absolutely speechless. From the lyrics to the amazing range of the vocals to the intricate piano work, this song really just nails it all around and every note is perfect. I was lost in “Off The Ground” but was instantly brought back to Earth with “One Slip Away”. There’s a jazzy aspect in this song that I hadn’t heard previously on this album but was so glad to notice. Although Amanda’s voice is definitely more that of an alto, some of the higher notes she hits in this track are done with such a sense of ease that I almost wish I got more of this higher range from her.
“Always” hits you right in the gut. Whether you can relate to the words or not, there’s something in this song that just makes you feel all the feels. It’s in the words, the way Amanda sings them and it’s in every note that is plucked on the guitar. Honestly, I was very lost in this track the same way I was in “Off The Ground” and almost wanted to fight with my speakers to replay the track instead of moving onto “Vanishing”. Thankfully, the beauty of this album continued as “Vanishing” started playing. Although I was captivated once again by the vocals, I really tried to focus on the background and that’s when I realized how great both the piano and cello are in this track but also just how powerful the vocals are. No matter how hard I tried, my ears always floated back to Amanda’s voice.
There’s something painful about the words in “Runaway”. Not just the words themselves, but the way with which they are presented. This track is a great example of the power that Amanda possesses. She is able to both blow you away with her power but, at the same time, woo you with her restraint. It’s pure magic but, before I knew it, the song was done and I was met with the jazzy little number called “One Of Those Nights”. This was another instant favorite of mine. This track is completely different than the previous songs as it has a full band and almost R&B beat with a jazzy styled vocal and a rhythm that is impossible to not fall in love with. I could have listened to this track eighty times and still not gotten bored with it.
Amanda B. Perry goes back to her normal sound for “Song For Sarah” and, although I was bummed to not get more of the more upbeat and fuller sound of “One Of Those Nights”, I feel like I finally saw just how powerful of a pianist Amanda is on this track. Her playing is almost as stunning as her vocals and the fact that she does them both so flawlessly literally had me floored throughout this track. The sweetness of “Song For Sarah” lends nicely to the final track, “How I Found You”. It’s still your classic Amanda P. Berry but there’s something triumphant about this track that makes it the perfect ending for this stunning album.
I didn’t want to review this album because I liked the feeling that I got from looking at the album cover. Now that I’ve listened to ‘By Special Request’, I realize that sure the cover is beautiful, but the music on this album is the stunning part. Sure, this album won’t be sitting on my desk anymore but this album will absolutely be stuck in my head for the foreseeable future.
My Favorite Track(s): “Off the Ground”; “One of Those Night”
For Fans Of: Stunning Beauty; Gorgeous Vocals
Daydream-ability: 7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid right by my arms; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
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