This Week's $7.99 Albums: Solo Female Artists


iTunes offers a subset of its albums at the great price of $7.99. Don't bother hunting through to find them all -- we take care of it for you!

This week is a great week to pick up some great solo female artists if that's your scene. All for $2 less an album than your traditional iTunes music.

1. Sara Bareilles - Little Voice

Some compare Sara to Norah Jones or Fiona Apple, but she has neither the fluidity nor the agenda to align with either of those artists. I would instead label her "the female Ben Folds": apt at creating potent, poppy melodies (with the occasional jazzy hook) that tell vivid stories. I have listened to her album more times than I can count this year. Highly Recommended.

2. A Fine Frenzy - One Cell in the Sea

According to the VH1 video that I saw, "A Fine Frenzy" is just a 20 year old girl with orange hair. She sings pretty well, but on piano she's limited to pounding out simple chords in 4/4 time. Despite the pervasive too-tender angst, the songwriting doesn't underwhelm, and sometimes surprises. It's unchallenging music for a rainy day.

3. Vanessa Carlton - Heroes & Thieves

It was impossible for me not to like Vanessa Carlton's first album with the "Thousand Miles" song, but then that got played three billion times, and then I saw randomly saw Ms. Carlton peddling Candie's shoes in my local mall, and the mystique was just gone for me.

But a further listen of her latest album is surprising. The songwriting is tight and fresh. Songs like "Spring Street" showcase a seriously maturity emerging in her work. Her voice is sometimes a little too precious for me still, but Vanessa Carlton is no longer playing it safe.

4. Emmy Rossum - Inside Out

If Imogen Heap, a posse of opera singers, and a flock of ethereal chipmunks made sweet sweet love and had a baby, it might produce this album. Last time I checked, Emmy Rossum has an awesome voice, so I'm not certain why her production team is hiding it behind an army of effects and dubovers.

The sparser tracks might have the answer. Emmy sometimes can bust it out and leave you surprised and breathless, but other times has trouble fleeing her diaphragm-supported, open-vowel, operatic roots, and embracing something a little rougher. For $7.99, it's an interesting acquisition. For any higher, only buy it if you are a 14 year old girl or a die-hard Phantom Fan.

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