Central Reservation is the second studio album by English singer-songwriter Beth Orton, released on 9 March 1999. The album featured contributions from folk musician Terry Callier (with whom she also recorded the b-side "Lean on Me"), Dr. Robert and Ben Harper. Several tracks were also produced by Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl. Central Reservation received critical acclaim and garnered Orton a second Mercury Music Prize nomination, and won her Best British Female at the 2000 BRIT Music Awards.Wikipedia
At the expense of noodling, this album is exceptional, especially considering I've never heard of the artist let alone the album. Throughout the album we get a series of emotionally charged tracks with generally gentle and simple arrangements. Orton's voice is gentle and breezy, but on occasion tastes metallic due to the heaviness and tumultuousness of some of the lyrics. Examples would include some of the last few songs on the album, which are in spite of being on an album with no bad songs, probably my favourite part of the record. The album is generally described as a ''folktronica'' work, but I really didn't see a lot of that. With the exception of a few songs like Stars All Seem To Weep and the last track of the album, which is basically the title track remixed. The overarching genre here is folk and to an extent alternative folk. Most songs on the release are longer than 5 minutes, but they all just seem to breeze by since another one the album's major features is its sheer diversity in scope and structure of the songs at hand. You never feel like a song has been rehashed (last track aside) or repeated. The arrangements are always simple but more is less here. Undeniably one of the most underrated singer/songwriter albums of the 90s. In a world of musicians and singers like Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Sinead O'Connor, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey, this gem seemed to have slipped under the radar. Let's change that. 10/10
British folktronica, huh? You know, on paper, I should have disliked this, but I didn't. I didn't really LIKE it either. I just... experienced it. It would be very hard to hate this album. It's just so inoffensive. But that's, to some degree, why it's hard to love it too. It has no sharp edges, pushes no boundaries, and doesn't ask anything of the listener. It just... exists quietly in the corner out of everyone's way. Every track lingers just a little too long and Beth spends just a little too much time singing wordless nothings for no reason. Her voice is excellent. I just wish she was singing something interesting.
This album feels like going out for the day with your mom for a day when you are 7, and while you've long since forgotten what you did, you remember what it felt like. Being softly cradled and warmed by some soft and immutable force that you'll never be able to articulate, but one we've all felt. Beautiful use of Orton's soft, slight and occasionally wailing voice. The arrangements are never dense, but soft and ones that lull and lightly pull you to keep listening. Like soft pirouettes in a slowly dying house. Beth Orton gives us rest in the quiet in-betweens of life. These simple memories that we are forgetting, but somehow it feels comforting to do so. Childhood ended, we've moved on, but that deep yearning never will. (7/10, may end up as an 8 if I keep listening)
Can see why it was called Modern Sounds, the big band feel, makes it bright, sharp and punchy. None of these tracks sound like Country and Western songs, so I'm assuming they are standards/classics in C&W which makes Charles reinterpretation of them so striking, he's placing a big band aesthetic over them, making them feel new and impactful. Charles has great phrasing, he can stretch and hold a note so well. Not many words in some of the lyrics, but he lets them float over the music. He also hold and bend notes so well, to fit to fill the phrasing and tempo of each song. More a fan of the uptempo numbers, but the slower ones show off the versatility of Ray’s voice/tone.
Another album that I can't even remember listening to. Dull.
Unnnngh big nostalgia bump for this album - takes me straight back to uni. I think I'd still give it 5 stars even without the familiarity, but who can say? Fave track - "Stolen Car" - such a fantastic album opener. The title track is great too...
Beth Orton once described Van's Astral Weeks as album 'that has been willed into being' which I thought was a lovely turn of phrase. She draws upon a similiar poetic sensibility to deliver this fantastic album (Sweetest Decline is a song straight out of the Van playbook)
Beth Orton creates a very playful, warm, delicate and pleasant sounding record with Central Reservation. The production is stellar, the lyrics are touching and Beth's voice is incredible. If there are things to criticise, it has to do with the editing process, non-lexical vocals, and very sparingly, a lack of energy or focus. Some tracks went on for too long. This was especially noticible on So Much More and Pass In Time, with the last two minutes dragging on and introducing nothing new. While most of the record is extremely well produced, Feel To Believe is not up to standard. Lastly, I am not a great fan of the jazzy "la la la" or "da da da", as they are the greatest reason for some tracks not elevating themselves to more than being background, chamber pop. Bonus points for the futuristic elements on Stars All Seem To Weep, which reminds me of Portishead's best. A solid 3/5, just shy of reaching 4/5.
This was interesting. I wasn't really feeling it for the most part until I took a nap in the corner of an empty classroom in between classes, and then it hit different. Do with that information what you will.
Solid mildly pleasant folk pop. 5/10
This Lilith fair headliner is my favorite.
Really liked this - need to listen again
Das ist das perfekte Album um ein einem Anruf das nicht regnet den Tag bei ein paar Sachen spazieren zu gehen melancholisch und doch optimistisch. Kurz gesagt einfach gut ich überlege fünf Sterne zu geben. Inkl. Bonus für die Überraschung
really beautiful, great songwriting too!
What a beautiful record
I fell for Beth Orton the first time I heard She Cries Your Name in '96. Seen her live so many times, Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury '97, Union Chapel, Shepherds Bush Empire, an upstairs room in some random London pub, some venue near Southbank with Johnny Marr on guitar that was cut short when some wanker set off the fire alarm, and a church in Auckland. She never disappoints. All hail the Queen of Comedown!
I listened to it twice, then I let it roll on the background for a while to keep me company.
Great album, I really enjoyed this. My first listen was at the beginning of the day and it was nice to drift in and out of sleep with. The second listen was just as good, but awake.
This album is gorgeous. Beth Orton’s voice is incredibly versatile and can break through anything making the listener hang onto every word. She is known as a folktronica artist, but I found this album to be solidly in the folk category except for a few songs on the back half of the album. I can see how this influences later artists in the 2000s and 2010s when folktronica really came into its own.
Extremely soft, it's rich with smooth and nice melodies. Most songs take their time but almost all of them reward with substantial dividends. There's an icy, mournful and timeless quality to Orton's voice, particularly when the tracks are more natural sounding. I don't think there was a weak moment, save for my opinion of the ending of "Devil Song" being slightly unfulfilling. Beth fits my tastes, and I blame my ignorance for letting her early efforts pass me by.
Lost touch with Beth Orton after her early success but on this record I should have stuck with her. Really enjoyable, thoughtful and tuneful stuff. Best song Stolen Car.
I am very pleasantly surprised by this!
1999: Stolen Car, Couldn't Cause Me Harm, Feel To Believe
I really liked it. Early folktronica has a bit of nostalgia feel to it, and the songwriting itself was quite good.
Not too bad actually
It might not be fair to Beth to say that she sounds exactly like Natalie Merchant, but...she does. There are plenty of great tracks on this record, and the standout is a song where she grieves her dead mother. Powerful stuff. Best track: Pass In Time
I loved her voice, I loved the production this was very good 8,8/10
Tell you what was the bomb. This album. Beautiful voice and the production sounds really familiar, like the cranberries. Or that tune 'I can't breathe until ur ass is here with me, I can't hide.' u know on love actually soundtrack is that her, fuck?
She's got a great voice over some semi-ambient electronica/trip-hop beats. Very "lo-fi hip hop to relax/study to" vibes.
Perfect glass of wine and a bath album. Or, a comedown album back in the day.
Very nice indeed.
Ik kan dit waarderen; het is tijdloos, prettig om naar te luisteren en het werd sowieso weer eens tijd voor een vrouwenstem tussen al dat mannengeweld.
Zeemzoet zweven zonder zorgen
Quite easy listening, sounds good for a lazy morning with a coffee. Can imagine this playing in a coffee place too. Quite like the voice of Orton.
Really enjoyed this album. Great voice.
I didn't listen to this when it came out - I was too busy listening to Portishead. But it's very good.
I love this album and the following one Daybreaker. I didn't keep up with her output and for no good reason. I must try harder. Favourite Track : Couldn't cause me harm.
Lovely singer-songwriter album
90s coffee shop realness
Folk and electronic- England
really solid listen. enjoyable.
Smooth easy listening
Really fantastic, lovely mix of folk and electronica.
LOL. Y que hago la reseña de Soul Mining... Muy chido, me gustó bastante el bajo en Sinking Feeling, las cuerdas en Twighlight Hour y Giant es todo un viajesote. Un poco de todo, medio synth, medio dark, medio postpunk.
Definitely a re-listen this one for the chill afternoons. Was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. Its only 4 stars since there is some filler towards the end.
precursor to Olivia Rodrigo
Wow, she's fantastic! This is a solid album. Had not heard of her or heard any of her music before. I like her style, her writing, and her voice. Great songwriting, too. She shows some real range of expression on this album. Very cool.
4 out of 5, but an unsteady one - from obvious gems to some mediocre proto-hipster-bullshit. But a release with Love Like Laughter, Stolen Car and Couldn't Cause Me Harm on it cannot be bad in any case.
Beth Orton doing what Beth Orton does. Polished folk pop.
This is a generous 4, because although I didn’t enjoy this an awful lot on first listen, it definitely has potential to be a grower!
Very pretty, in short
De va många bra å många decent
Beautiful voice and nice, chill-out music.
schöne und warme Stimme, diese ruhigen Songs gefallen mir gut. Die Sängerin kannte ich bis jetzt nicht, aber das ist ein so ein Album, dass man in ruhigen Stunden gerne immer wieder hört.
Up my street
Kind of moody and dark and low key in an interesting way. Liked it more than I expected.
Znam da će mi Sweetest Decline, Central Reservation i Love Like Laughter biti na repeatu. Tako divne melodije, melankolične, a neke ću već kao i ove koristiti za jesensku plejlistu :3
Zasto folktronica tako dobro izaziva nostalgiju
Radiohead snuck into a singer songwriter
This is splendid. Beth Orton has a lovely voice, with just a hint of a Joni Mitchell vibe. Perusing the personnel, Orton has assembled a nice group of really talented supporting performers, including Dr. John, Benn Watt and Ben Harper. Will definitely come back to this. Fave Songs: Pass in Time, Central Reservation, Feel To Believe, Blood Red River, Sweetest Decline, Stolen Car
This is one of those albums that I want to listen to while on my porch and watching the rain. Nice coffee and a smoke type vibes.
I went through a big Beth Orton phase 25 years ago or so, listening to this album and the compilation album Pass in Time over and over again. Her voice is the first thing that grabbed me - there's just something so unique and emotional about it. The music and songs are also amazing. Strange that I never delved further into her catalog than those two albums, but this is a good reminder to do so. I'll be listening to Beth all day today at least. 4 stars.
Excelente voz! Vibe gostosa
A wonderful album that started to lose me towards the end. At the front, however, it was a great mix of vocals, instrumentals, and production. Everything felt very understated and it allowed her voice, which is the real selling point of the album, to shine through.
Otra grata sorpresa. Me recuerda a Natalie Merchant, pero un poco más moderna. Al final me cansa un poco el disco, pero le daré un 4.
Beth Orton nouus offre un superbe album qui fait du bien après la daube country offerte par Emmylou juste avant. Il est bon de rapeller que tout cela n'aurait pu arriver sans l'intervention de ce bon vieux William Orbit. Ce dernier a en effet vite abandonné la musique après son exécrable album entrevu il y a quelques mois de cela, pour se reconvertir dans la contrebande de cigarettes. A cette occasion, il rencontrera une Beth Orton des plus dévergondée dans une soirée de bas-étage londonienne, et finira par la lancer dans la musique. Le succès ne vint pas immédiatement pour Beth, les productions techno d'Orbit venant ruiner sa superbe voix, mais après quelques années et une séparation des plus attendues, Beth pu nous offrir ce superbe album non entâchée de la présence du parasite Orbit.
Coffee shop singer song writers has got to be one of my favorite genders
I very much enjoyed this album. It was a great soundtrack for the Sunday morning walk with the pup.
Nice mellow pop.
Influential and genre defining album, but too long
Flott rödd, góð tónlist, skemmtileg electróníku og kassagítars blanda. Jájá.
I would describe Beth Orton as being the least famous person with a famous voice (at least in music). This album is fairly difficult for me to describe, but it's excellent. It's mellow and folky a lot of the time, but it surprises you sometimes as well (Stars All Seem to Weep kinda comes out of nowhere). Overall a great listen 4/5
Otra grata sorpresa. Me recuerda a Natalie Merchant, pero un poco más moderna. Al final me cansa un poco el disco, pero le daré un 4.
Reminds me of the 90’s
Preferred the upbeats tunes, but overall not bad
My favorite of hers. She had a unique and distinctive sound in her early stuff that she went away from in her later work.
Top 3 Songs: 1 - Sweetest Decline (2) 2 - Central Reservation (6) 3 - Feel to Believe (11)
Very nice, but washed over me. Nothing to make me sit up and listen, no standout songs, just consistently nice.
Rakastan tätä levyä. Olin unohtanut, miten paljon. Kuuntelin Beth Ortonia paljon vuosituhannen vaiheessa ja vähän myöhemmin, sittemmin siirryin kuuntelemaan enemmän Cat Poweria, joka osui mulla ikään kuin samaan tarpeeseen. Ei siis mitenkään niin, että Cat Power olisi mitenkään parempi kuin Beth Orton, lähinnä sattumaa tämä. Ehkä Beth Orton on jopa hieman parempi.
A lovely album. Beth Orton sings with an emotional depth that is extremely satisfying. The arrangements are pretty spare and organic sonuding and help to keep her voice and lyrics the star of the show. There is some lovely acoustic guitar and the whole album is beautifully rendered. 4 stars
Great voice. No expectations, very pleasant listening. I don't know anything about her EDM roots but this made me curious for more.
A nice album, reminded me a lot of the PJ Harvey album I heard before, but with a couple less memorable tracks. I really like Stars All Seem to Weep
This is the first time listening to an album on this list from an artist I previously knew nothing about revealed something I really enjoyed. This is a beautiful album, I was particularly taken with Stolen Car. It feels earnest in a way most albums just aren't able to achieve.
Well produced and well Written just not to my taste
Pleasant enough. Bit like Dido or Emma Rugg. Not what I’m really into at the moment.
Would listen again, liked Stolen Car
Kind of moody and folk-sy. Average.
Got a little repetitive.
Nothing ground breaking but nice enough. Couldn't cause me harm is my highlight