Goodbye to You
Album: The Spirit Room
In an interview with Blender, which was published September 2002, Michelle Branch complains during the photo shoot that she’s “a singer-songwriter, not a model. I’m not happy in skirts. I’m more of a t-shirt kind of a girl.” The stylist and Branch decide on a t-shirt instead. Then Branch complains again that “the stylist cut it up with scissors! You could see my bra!” And even refers to herself as an artist and thinks of when she is going to sell another million albums.
First, the oh-so-bothersome photo shoot (for a cover that could’ve been refused and given to someone more worthy like Kylie Minogue) is a start to selling a million more albums. Although, she seems to think that Blender, a subsidiary of Maxim, have become puritans and would only put her in as much clothing as possible. If she’s showing some skin than that big bubble of delusion bursts and she will realize that she is not an artist. She’s just a young pop star with a guitar, like Avril Lavigne, singing about the frustrations of love and life.
The soppy “Goodbye to You,” Branch’s third single, is an acoustic ballad about a long -term relationship that has ended. In it, she is attempting to make a clean break but wanting to be back in the relationship at the same time.
Branch starts the song awkwardly with the fragment, “Of all the things I believed in/I just want to get it over with.” First, it’s a good opening line, but what was it that she believed in? It’s the relationship (which is assumed), however, why? In order to really work the lyric needed to be fleshed out. Instead, she opts for the being strong (“Tears form behind my eyes/But I do not cry”) and looking deep into her soul for answers, just like everybody else who has sung about heartbreak. However, the listener does learn something about the relationship: it lasted three years. It’s the only detail given throughout the single.
In the second verse, she is like Debbie Gibson and still gets lost in his eyes and finds that ” that I can’t live a day without you/closing my eyes and you chase my thoughts away” All the single would need at this moment is the strings to go into overdrive, Branch to belt out her highest note, and the choir to sing along. However, Branch, the “artist” that she is, is above pop music’s cliches.
Branch may have been going for the raw Ani Difranco feel. However, unlike Ani Difranco, her music is not based on emotion or creativity. Her voice is also barely worth listening, as seems to be just above a whisper. Branch seems to follow every coffee shop singer before her: sadness means her voice is quieter (first verse), strength is shown in the second verse by being slightly louder, and by the bridge, it’s combined. Every time the chorus is sung, it’s offkey. While she actually manages to reachs “you” part, the “goodbye to” is mangled and flat.
Branch needs to stop buying into her own hype and realize that she is going to tow the bottom line, she is going to have stop thinking of herself as some sort of “artist” and realize she is not any different from anyone else on the radio.