This Comeback Is “All You Wanted” and More
Michelle Branch returns after fourteen years with a fresh sound and a new take on love. After a series of disappointments with her label and several scrapped projects, Branch is back in action for Hopeless Romantic. The singer shines a light on her love stories through the years, with heartbreaking lyrics aimed at her ex-husband Teddy Landau, before she eventually finds love in Black Keys drummer and co-producer Patrick Carney. Hopeless Romantic has a nostalgic energy and a cool-girl indie resonance that separates it from her prior work.
Listeners ride the wave of flirty synth-pop as Branch shows her vulnerability on the punchy opening “Best You Ever.” The singer’s wispy alto purrs on the album’s title track, “I’m a hopeless romantic / when I should run for my life.” Branch, much like the pop duo Tennis, masters a bopping retro sound on “Carry Me Home.” The songwriter spills her secrets on “Not A Love Song,” a breakup anthem with zingers like, “You were my first ever / I wish we never met,” and, “You’re just somebody that I wasted my youth on.”
Branch bursts with a youthful ’80s pop vibe on “Living A Lie,” “Last Night” and “Shadow.” The Grammy-winning artist gives a glimpse of country influence on “Knock Yourself Out” and the album’s closing track “The City.” The concluding duet captures Branch reflecting on her past as she sings, “I’m gonna drown out every sentimental memory, find the courage to start over.” Branch is finally in control of her music and proves that time off has given her the experiences to fuel her album. After this surprisingly upbeat autobiographical journey of self-discovery, it’s safe to say fans won’t have to wait another decade for more from this Hopeless Romantic.