Chantal Kreviazuk – Hard Sail

Chantal Kreviazuk - Hard SailSince the release of Chantal Kreviazuk‘s last album Plain Jane in 2009, her repertoire of songs written for others include tracks for Pitbull and Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Drake, and Jay Rock featuring Kendrick Lamar – the latter two songs she also sang the hooks for. Every passing year was beginning to look like she’d never put out another album of her own again – and then Into Me dropped back in October – a big sounding song not unlike a Kelly Clarkson hit, followed by confirmation (to yours truly!) that an album would be following. Fast forward to June and the release of Hard Sail, Chantal’s sixth record.

Hard Sail takes two distinct paths and they are determined by the presence of main songwriting collaborator Thomas “Tawgs” Salter (Lights, Walk Off The Earth). On those tracks with his involvement, the result is a fresh sound with a stronger pop focus, but still an advancement for Chantal and a performance that is pushed closer to her limit – she sounds great. Her voice cracks on the chorus in Vicious, adding an edge not heard in her songs since her first album two decades ago.

But where half of the album is fresh and bold, the other half is familiar and warm. Lost, a song she wrote in the studio during recording for the album, doesn’t sound far off of Plain Jane‘s mellow softer sound, while Meant For This almost borrows from Tegan and Sara’s mid-2000s sound. I Love You is classic Chantal.

Hard Sail is a return to form for Chantal – if she ever really left. Her days of back-to-back radio hits and headlining tours might be behind her, but she still has a knack for creating great piano pop music and it seems, when paired with the right collaborator, there’s still a lot of ground left to cover. Hopefully a whole album with Tawgs is in the works?
Four stars

1. Hard Sail
2. All I Got
3. Into Me
4. Vicious
5. Lost
6. Meant For This
7. Snowing In The Desert
8. Ticklish
9. I Love You
10. Smiling In Your Sleep

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