Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet


Before You Could Decide


Rachel Zylstra left Grand Rapids for New York City in 2004, but her Midwestern perspective continues to reveal itself on her latest seven-song independent release. Like our obsession with the weather: "Walked down the street/The weather's colder/Than I expected/When I looked out the window" from the slice-of-life "Upper East Side" and "The rain keeps falling outside and I'm resigned/There will be no sunshine this weekend" from the sophisticated closer "This Weekend." Or our introspection on relationships: "This is just too smooth for you/This is too plain easy/Girl keeps spilling ink for you/Boy could take or leave me" from the excellent opener "Epilogue" and "I'm testing myself, but now in a different way/Tell me if I make the grade and I'll tell you if it's going to be a good day" from the sassy "Ruined Me Good." Those four tracks are the highlights of this set, but Rachel has delivered seven fine songs that pare down the number of words from her previous releases without sacrificing anything on the story-telling side. Just a girl and her piano -- and she's got us. We're in. We want to hear her tell her musical tales. The Village Voice has called Rachel "Michigan's Nellie McKay," and I take that as apt compliment: direct, confident -- but with a bit more heart. F-Pop LOCAL 12/08 Michael J.

Quick Links:

More reviews tagged #Folk

  • reviewed 09/2015

    Get Together
    Banana Recalls Youngblood Classics

  • reviewed 10/2006

    Gather Up

  • reviewed 04/2008


  • reviewed 06/2011

    The Brick Album

  • reviewed 04/2008

    Yael Naim and David Donatien
    Yael Naim

  • reviewed 03/2015

    Brother Adams
    Almost Alive At Front Street

Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.