(Not Just Another) Drop in the Ocean: The Michelle Branch Rate (FIN) | Page 21 | The Popjustice Forum

(Not Just Another) Drop in the Ocean: The Michelle Branch Rate (FIN)

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Seventeen Days, Apr 29, 2019.


What is your favorite Michelle Branch album?

  1. Broken Bracelet

    0 vote(s)
  2. The Spirit Room

    8 vote(s)
  3. Hotel Paper

    11 vote(s)
  4. Hopeless Romantic

    5 vote(s)
  5. West Coast Time

    0 vote(s)
  6. Stand Still, Look Pretty

    2 vote(s)
  7. Everything Comes and Goes

    1 vote(s)
  1. Oh no, I never like giving a relatively low score to a host's 11. My apologies, I had no clue it was so well-loved. Just didn't work for me at all.

    I selected Hopeless Romantic in the poll, but after doing my scores it became clear to me that The Spirit Room was my favorite album because Hopeless Romantic never any songs hold up as clear and away favorite that are 10-worthy, to me at least.

    Decent Top 6 where I'd sort them into two groups, one are all in the 8 range and the others are 10+

    Goodbye to You, Breathe, Leave the Pieces are good but not Top 3 worthy.

    Everywhere, All You Wanted, Are You Happy Now? are obvious winning candidates and a 'when it's right it's right' expedition.
    berserkboi and Seventeen Days like this.
  2. Hey, that's half the fun of these rates isn't it? Not everyone is going to agree on the same song, but we can all be united in our love for the artist's overall catalogue! And like I said in my post, I was convinced that 'Drop in the Ocean' wouldn't make Top 10, so I'm just glad it ranked so high.

    #6 is coming sometime today, and #5 should be up this evening.
  3. [​IMG]
  4. So pleased 'Drop In The Ocean' did so well. Once it kinda surprisingly made the top 10 to me, I was like 'alright! How far will it go?'
  5. Can you believe I had to work today? The absolute homophobia of my boss. At least it's super dead, so I can kick in an elimination at a reasonable hour.

    Coming at #6, and it looks like bad news for some of y'all....

    ...the race just got a little more exclusive.


    Average: 8.94
    (at 0.30 above #7, this was the biggest jump between averages in the rate.)

    High Scores: 11 (@rtotheh), 10 (@Shockbox, @pop3blow2, @imaduck, @Remorque, @Music Is Life)

    Low Score: 6 x 2 (@bonnieetclyde, @Sprockrooster)

    My Score: 8.25

    Stand Still, Look Pretty fought as hard as it could to make it to the Top 5. But alas, The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper were determined to make this a one-on-one race.

    Country and pop music had been flirting with each other since as far back as the early 80s, when the "urban cowboy" trend was booming. It wasn't until the late 90s/early 00s that country tracks saw their biggest crossover successes, with artists like Shania Twain and Faith Hill dominating the country and pop charts simultaneously. Thus, it made perfect sense for Michelle to join forces with her friend Jessica Harp, combining their pop and country styles into a sound that was ready made for chart success. The track made some small waves on the Hot 100, reaching only #34; however, its biggest success was on the Country charts, where it managed to shoot all they way to #1. (It did have some moderate success on the Adult Top 40, reaching #19 there.)

    I mentioned at some point in this rate that even when I didn't have the entirety of this album in my music library, I always had 'Leave the Pieces' on it. This song had 'smash hit' written on it from the first couple of times I heard it. The production is very of its time: take away the banjos and fiddles, and you could probably mistake this for an outtake from Hotel Paper. What really anchors the song is how Jessica and Michelle's voices blend so well together on it, giving a harmony that stands out and catches your ear. Plus, it's got the requisite "yeah yeah yeahs" that Michelle likes to pepper into her songs. Pop music may not have been too keen on it, but the country fans ate it up.

    Your Thoughts

    @saviodxl (8.9) Listening to this again after a long time reminds me, I might wanna explore Jessica Harp's solo discography too.


    @abael (9) - A really well constructed song.

    @LKane (9.4) - This was a great introduction as a country artist, wasn’t it?

    @Shockbox (10) - While I don't think most of The Wreckers album has aged well, this track has stood the test of time.

    @pop3blow2 (10) - The Wreckers were a such a wonderfully random occurrence. This song is great, but more than anything, I love that it was such a big hit.

    @imaduck (10) - One of the best songs I've ever heard, no-one else does country pop better than Michelle and Jess, not the Dixie Chicks, not Taylor, not Dolly, no-one.

    @Music Is Life (10) – A great opener, love the lyrics, and the melody. And the production. Okay yeah, I love this, it's so good. I'm really nervous this won't do well just cause it's country.

    Well, at least you can breathe (ha!) knowing it made it this far.

    @rtotheh (11) - At the risk of having to hand in my Michelle stan card, this non-solo, non-rock, non-self-penned country MASTERWORK has to be my 11. Leave the Pieces is a perfectly assembled, Nashville-flavoured break-up anthem, and hearing Michelle and those drums come in for her verse for the first time was such a MOMENT after the preceding 3 years of label and fanboard drama. A 3m 31s justification of Michelle’s country diversion.

  6. It's time for Stand Still, Look Pretty to kick up its heels and split.


    Highest Average Scorers:
    @imaduck, 9.38
    @Music Is Life, 8.94
    @pop3blow2, 8.58

    Lowest Average Scorers:
    @DJHazey, 5.44
    @saviodxl, 5.50
    @bonnieetclyde, 6.38

    Leave the Pieces (#6, 8.94)
    Way Back Home (#38, 7.54)
    The Good Kind (#14, 8.20)
    Tennessee (#60, 6.96)
    My, Oh My (#55, 7.19)
    Stand Still, Look Pretty (#21, 7.98)
    Cigarettes (#52, 7.22)
    Hard to Love You (#40, 7.49)
    Lay Me Down (#24, 7.80)
    One More Girl (#82, 6.32)
    Rain (#70, 6.79)
    Crazy People (#86, 6.16)
  7. Who could have predicted that the Top 5 would be a fight to the finish between The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper? ...okay probably all of us. But when you have a niche artist like Michelle, the people like what they like.

    We'll be back with #5 this evening. Spoiler alert: all of the remaining tracks were a 10 for me, so I may have to restrain myself from getting too long-winded in their write-ups.
  8. I feel such a vilain, then I remember @imaduck gave The Game Of Love a 0 and everything is fine again
    LKane, Seventeen Days and berserkboi like this.
  9. Glad Leave the Pieces made it this far - though top five would have properly made up for Through the Radio, I Want Tears, et al’s unceremonious departures...
    pop3blow2 and Seventeen Days like this.
  10. It's a shame Leave the Pieces didn't get to the top 5, but I'm happy it held on as long as it could.
  11. My boyfriend got back last night from being gone for two weeks, so I took an impromptu holiday break. #5 is coming up this evening.
  12. Good evening/morning, all! A mere 4 tracks stand between us and our #1 song, so I’m going to be getting these checked off in quick succession over the next couple of days. Tomorrow and Saturday will be #4 and #3, with Sunday culminating in our big reveal of the top two. I’m kind of sad to see the rate wrap up, but also excited to show you the winner!

    Let’s kick things off with #5 tonight.

    …you ready to say goodbye?


    Average: 8.95

    High Scores: 11 (@Music Is Life), 10 x 5 (@Seventeen Days, @Shockbox, @rtotheh, @imaduck, @Remorque)

    Low Score: 6 x 2 (@soratami, @abael)

    ‘Goodbye to You’ was Michelle’s third and final single to be released from The Spirit Room. It was also the lowest-charting of the three, reaching only #21 on the Hot 100. What’s definitely unique about this track, though, is the fact that we have three different versions with which to discuss: the original version on Broken Bracelet, the album version on The Spirit Room, and the single remix (also known as the Radio Remix). The version that’s most radically different is, of course, the version on Broken Bracelet; having more of an acoustic feel, being in line with the rest of that album.

    The two versions from The Spirit Room, both album and radio version, are pretty much similar in style, but with just enough difference to be noticeable. Personally, for me, the album version is far superior to either of the other two. It’s more of a ballad feel, versus the stripped-down Bracelet version and the more upbeat radio remix. The album version starts off with that gorgeous pad synth, combined with a somewhat spacey drum pattern and some piano, as well as some “doot-doot” background vocals. Michelle’s vocals sound more restrained in spots, more bold in others.

    The biggest difference though for me is at the end, when Michelle sings “and when the stars fall, I will lie awake/you’re my shooting star.” On the album version, we get a proper sendoff, with a minor guitar chord that drifts off into a reverb-soaked piano note; while on the single remix, she kind of whispers the word “star” in a breathy voice, and then we get a really strong minor chord that just ends the song abruptly. That one difference really is a make-or-break thing in my book, and it just gives the win to the album version.

    Your Thoughts

    @abael (6) - More energy than usual, but familiar territory.

    @bonnieetclyde (8) - Strong chorus, lovely build up over the course of the song and nice lyrics.

    @DJHazey (8.25) - Even though I don't really use this per se, do you think this Buffy fan is giving extra points for that performance at The Bronze, especially with everything going on in the show at the time? You bet your life I am.

    @LKane (8.3) - Is it bad if I don’t love this song? A bit too cheesy for me. But I still like it, especially the remix version.

    @pop3blow2 (8.6) - A good ballad. Probably a solid single choice, but admittedly not one of my faves on the album. Do love that last stray note on the piano.

    @The Hot Rock (9) – Reminds me of Buffy since I heard this through that before I ever sat down with The Spirit Room. I'm sad.

    @saviodxl (9.1) - Damn, she’s pretty in the video, isn't she?

    @Sprockrooster (9.5) - This barely made my pop-rock 00's rate and I am thrilled I can throw my love for it now. Cause what a great kiss-off anthem this remains to be. No time will kill this love.

    @Shockbox (10) - Another track that very nearly got my 11. Whether it's the album version or the (superior) single version, this is peak Michelle Branch. I absolutely love the storytelling in this song.

    @rtotheh (10) - For the purposes of this rate I’m going to assume we’re all using the radio edit, which unites the already blub-and-Buffy-worthy lyrics with GIANT OVERBLOWN 2000S PRODUCTION and OTT MICHELLE VOCALS and THAT CONFUSING VIDEO ABOUT THE GOLDFISH. I award it further bonus points for its abrupt jar of an ending, replacing the original’s merry twinkling.

    @imaduck (10) - 11-year-old me making music videos saying goodbye to my teddy's in my bedroom serving Oscar 2020 realness.

    @Music Is Life (11) – Okay. This song. THIS FUCKING SONG. No way is this not going to be my 11. It's just a perfect pop rock song on its own, with great lyrics about trying to move on after losing someone, and great vocals from Michelle. But the connection to Buffy, and the reason I know the song, elevates it for me, because it's used perfectly in that episode, and I will probably never not think of Giles/Willow & Tara when I listen to this.

    And since so many of you mentioned it, here's Michelle performing the song on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  13. Glad I am not the only one who gets the Buffy feels from this! A song and a half! Her desperation delivering that chorus - WOW!!!
  14. Happy Saturday, everyone! Fridays just seem to be a bad time for me to commit to a write-up, as they always seem to end up getting away from me. But no worries, we’ll get #4 and #3 down today, so we can stay on track for our big finale on Sunday.

    Going into this round, we have The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper neck-and-neck at two songs apiece. They’ve both held their place pretty firmly for the entirety of the rate, but we’re down to the wire now. So who’s taking a hit at #4?


    Average: 9.22

    High Scores: 11 x 3 (@saviodxl, @pop3blow2, @LKane), 10 x 6 (@Seventeen Days, @Shockbox, @The Hot Rock, @ohnostalgia, @Remorque, @Music Is Life)

    Low Score: 6 @Sprockrooster

    I’m not even exaggerating when I say that this is in my top 5 songs of the last 20 years. I mean, literally how can you not like this song? It’s one of the most perfect pop tracks ever made. It has everything I want in a song - the perfectly sun-soaked melody. The pre-chorus building up the anticipation until it slams into a POWERHOUSE of a chorus. The lingering middle 8. The repeat of the first line at the end. Miss Michelle Branch-Landau-Carney did not have to go that hard, but she did. She did for us.

    Your Thoughts
    @bonnieetclyde (7) - This track has a great chorus (Michelle is a dab-hand at these) but the rest? The verses just wash over you and aren't that strong or memorable.

    @abael (8) - Powerful chorus makes up for average lyrics.

    @rtotheh (8*) - I still get flashbacks to some of the fan ructions when this was chosen as Hotel Paper single #2. My allegiance lies with the Tuesday Mornings and Empty Handeds of the world, but hard to deny this is was such a radio-friendly pop MOMENT, collapsing sand-castle studios, crab invasions and all. I fell back in love with it after Michelle’s bluesy 2017 rework on her Hopeless Romantic tour.

    *Please forgive me

    …I’ll forgive you, only because you are singing its praises.

    @Shockbox (10) - I've heard that Michelle doesn't like this song and was forced to record it and release it? Queen of not having good taste in her own music.

    @The Hot Rock (10) – That was a Classic.

    @Music Is Life (10) – This is so freaking good. A serious highlight on this album. Love that chorus, it's everything.

    @saviodxl (11) I JUST LOVE AND NEVER WILL GET TIRED OF THIS SONG. Probably her most uplifting song! It's about letting someone in and teenage me just couldn't with all these feelings and the guitar chords and the infectious chorus! Remember that Sex and The City scene where they play this song? I DO

    @pop3blow2 (11) - There was never another song that was coming for my 11 in this rate. This is one of my fave songs of the 00’s. Everything comes together for me on this song. I played it to death in the early 00’s & it’s still the Michelle song I come back to the most. A pretty flawless pop song. I'm a geek for John Shanks’ production in this era of pop & this is one of his masterpieces. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Ashlee & am quite fond of Hilary, but when you hear how Michelle can go off over a John Shanks production, well, she's in a different league. Michelle’s vocal is… wow. That pause for each chorus. Brilliant.

    @LKane (11) - I give to this song my 11 because whenever I feel sad or angry, this song always makes me happy. I just remember to breathe… It is a perfect pop song for me.

    On a side note, does anyone else remember when a CD single was released for this with a bunch of dance remixes? I loathed a couple of them for ruining a perfect song, but I forgot about a couple until I listened to them for this post. I'm adding a couple of the ones that I thought were pretty good.

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
  15. I believe I gave an 8 and underscored Breathe but the Top 3 I envision is untouchable so this is a great placement. I'd give a 9 or 9.5 today.
  16. Aaawwww
    berserkboi and Seventeen Days like this.
  17. I really though Breathe was going to win. :( Btw... does anybody remember that the song was used in the trailer for this chick flick?

  18. Holy wow, I do remember that! I think I had that on some VHS I used to own? (talk about a flashback....)

    Anyway, I ended up being social and going to see Star Wars tonight, so #3 is coming later today. We're still on track to wrap up the rate, so hang tight!
    pop3blow2, LKane and berserkboi like this.
  19. Three songs left. Two from The Spirit Room and one from Hotel Paper. Who comes out victorious, and who finishes with the bronze?


    Average: 9.38

    High Scores: 11 (@Shockbox), 10 x 7 (@Seventeen Days, @soratami, @DJHazey, @rtotheh, @imaduck, @Remorque, @Music Is Life)

    Low Score: 7 x 2 (@The Hot Rock, @abael)

    I wanted this song to reach the top two so badly, so we could have a song from each album duking it out for the title. This track came close to winning a couple of times, at least until more scores started rolling in. At least Hotel Paper put up a good fight.

    The first time I heard ‘Are You Happy Now?’, I was in a computer class my senior year of high school. As usual, I was goofing off instead of doing my work (which was probably not a good idea, considering it was for my final). That’s when I saw the news of a new Michelle Branch single on the MTV website, with a link to listen to it. The first thing I noticed was that it seemed a bit… darker. Grittier, if you will. It was still the same pop-rock Michelle I knew, but now she was angry. I was firmly on the stan train, so of course I was gonna like it regardless.

    Even after all these years, it still stands out as the perfect choice for the lead single from Hotel Paper, in my book. Michelle was keeping with a tried-and-true formula, but giving it a twist. Gone were the (mostly) cutesy lyrics about love, and in their place were lyrics about the anger and bitterness of a love gone bad. The production had that polish that was hard to miss on The Spirit Room, but here it was turned down a bit to give more of a “rough around the edges” feel. She was ready to tell the world "I'm growing up, and ready to talk about the mature side of life". And what a way to do it.

    Your Thoughts

    @The Hot Rock (7) – This has always been a lesser fave single for me. Feels really out of place on Hotel Paper. Don't have a lot of context for her career and what was going on at the time but it almost feels like something that was shoehorned in by the label to have a single similar to what would be expected from her since the rest is pretty laid back.

    @abael (7) - Michelle suits this song’s Rock vibes well.

    @bonnieetclyde (9) - Great production on this. Pretty much a clone of 'Everywhere' but manages to get away with it, just. I may even prefer it, just a tad. There's a little more grit on this.

    @Sprockrooster (9) - Its success in the pop-rock rate made me love this more.

    @pop3blow2 (9) - As ‘Alanis-y’ as Michelle ever got, right? She sounds pissed here. I like it.

    @saviodxl (9.5) - Sis knows how to deliver that pop hook with guitars and bitter lyrics.

    @LKane (9.6) - Her voice is more mature in this record. And actually it is one of my fave albums of all time. I really hope we can get it on vinyl one day… anyway… Are you happy now was a great first single… too bad it wasn’t a big hit, but I love the drums and rock vibe that it has.

    @DJHazey (10) - What makes this my third favorite Michelle song and a staple in the Holy Trinity is pretty simple in this case. The sing-along capability. Now don't get me wrong, I get my absolute life singing along to the other two, but I've had moments where it's on an entirely different level with this chorus. The chill beginning sometimes fools me into thinking I'll just pleasantly sit back and enjoy the show, but pretty soon I'm making a pretty good case for banning all music in cars as it becomes a miracle that I can even keep my car on the road.

    @rtotheh (10) - What a SONG. If some of the Broken Bracelet tracks sounded like Alanis outtakes, this was when the pupil (briefly) became the master. Drums, vocals and guitars all dialed to 110% RAGE. I also think I did myself permanent damage attempting those “YEAAAH YEAAAAAAHS” over the course of 2003/4.

    @imaduck (10) - This is Michelle's "My Happy Ending"; in fact, Michelle's career is basically the original Avril career path. Solid teen first album, much darker second album, complete about face on the third and then just sort of try and recapture all three of the successful albums while your career goes down the toilet.

    @Music Is Life (10) – LOVE this. It's such a great opener. I love the production. It rocks, but still has just a little bit of pop in it. And her vocals are on point. Honestly, this is an 11 contender.

    @Shockbox (11) - This was all over MTV back in the day and I used to sit and scour the music channels constantly to listen to it over and over again. Thank god for Youtube now. When this was released, I had just gone to America on holiday and picked up both Hotel Paper and The Spirit Room (my shitty town didn't have a record store so I couldn't buy TSR) and my Michelle Branch Stan card was indeed in the post and fully laminated.

  20. And with that, Hotel Paper takes its last breath.


    Highest Average Scorers:
    @Music Is Life, 9.22
    @pop3blow2, 8.87
    @imaduck, 8.70

    Lowest Average Scorers:
    @abael, 6.00
    @saviodxl, 6.15
    @soratami, 6.73

    Are You Happy Now? (#3, 9.38)
    Find Your Way Back (#18, 8.06)
    Empty Handed (#45, 7.39)
    Tuesday Morning (#21, 7.98)
    One of These Days (#47, 7.38)
    Love Me Like That (with Sheryl Crow) (#28, 7.72)
    Desperately (#51, 7.25)
    Breathe (#4, 9.22)
    Where Are You Now? (#36, 7.56)
    Hotel Paper (#17, 8.09
    ‘Til I Get Over You (#10, 8.55)
    It’s You (#22, 7.91)

    Wanting Out (#45, 7.39)
    Lay Me Down (#26, 7.75)
    A Case of You (#89, 6.05)
    So thus, we are just hours away from our big finale. 'All You Wanted' and 'Everywhere' battle it out, but only one can walk away with the crown. Which will it be?

    Tune in this evening!

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