Kate Earl – Fate Is The Hunter

Kate EarlFate Is The Hunter (Record Collection)

O what hell the Lilith Fair years hath wrought!

The first mistake was to bring up the names of Fiona Apple and Norah Jones as comparison points in Kate Earl’s bio. The second mistake was to call her “a perfect blend of music and fashion,” a sentence that would rightfully make most music purists want to spit blood. The third mistake was to give the finished product a title that calls to mind a Lifetime movie: Fate Is The Hunter.

If the genesis of Kate Earl were indeed a Lifetime movie, it would involve Norah Jones and Fiona Apple (albeit a version of Fiona Apple that was given electroshock therapy and a series of anger-management courses) having a titillating lesbian relationship and being artificially inseminated. The sex/pregnancy scene would be soft-core and soft-focus lighting, 90% above-the-neck only, and the parts below the neck would absolutely NOT involve any of the awkward parts of sex—no one would sweat unless it made them glow, no one would hit their head or bruise themselves or say “ouch” or pass gas, and there would be a Meaningful Talk About Their Feelings And The Future afterwards. Also? The resulting child would grow up reading Jewel’s poetry and listening to the music of Train.

The nicest thing that can be said about this album is that it’s exactly that…nice. Kate Earl is not a bad girl. There’s ostensibly nothing wrong with that, but the most she ever does in her songs is get drunk (or claim she’s not drunk) while driving and plead with an anonymous officer to let her go home (“Officer”). The rest is all bad self-help manuscript rejects (“And when they come they’ll accept you / Just the way you are”—”Someone To Love”) sung by a woman whose voice resembles, yes, a higher-pitched Fiona Apple and who is awfully damn fond of leaning against various trees, walls and pillars and gazing all moony-eyed at the camera in the CD sleeve photos.

The bottom line? This album is pretty, to the saturation point of pretty. If you’re looking for something to play in the background at your next book club meeting, the one where you talk about The Lovely Bones and drink Riesling, by all means run out and buy this. If you’re looking for an album that has an original voice while keeping the pretty, run like hell.

You can stream a few songs on Kate Earl’s MySpace site, and here’s an mp3 of “Silence”.

27 thoughts on “Kate Earl – Fate Is The Hunter”

  1. Hey Lady,

    Another winning review. Umm, not that I’ve even heard the whole record, but that’s because you are my friend and would not willingly subject me to such things. But yes, well written and honest. Just like a good little music journalist bee. Whoo-Ha!

  2. This review is clearly evidence of a damaged music critic who is too cynical and stuck up on her own self-loathing to admit that anything good or pure or right or honest could ever be filled with talent…Because of this aversion to anything that does not pass your ever too obvious acid test of grotesquity, you have failed to see the true hurt and anxt that this singer songwriter often speaks of…Even in your quoted line of (“And when they come they’ll accept you / Just the way you are”—”Someone To Love”)you have completely missed the point. Listen to the song again. You will see that this is not some menial hope of a self-helped future, it is a cry of desperation and longing on behalf of the unsure, unloved, feining subjects of the song. Yes Kate Earl is pretty and she does sing pretty songs. But these songs that often speak of love and overcoming adversity come clearly from someone who has loved and who has faced adversity. She seems as one who does not shirk from this, but rather uses her music to say yes, there is adversity and loss and grime in this world, but it can be beat. Not all art must revel in that which tears down and destroys. Indeed, I believe that some of the purest and most powerful art is that which comes out of adversity and overcomes it.

  3. It would not matter who you were writing about you would still be a person with nothing better to do than to write trash about people!!!

  4. Wow, you sound REALLY bitter. I hate sappy music too but DAMN, don’t hate her cuz she’s beautiful and tallented and you’re not!

  5. poor sarah,

    talking like that makes you seem old and withered. like the skin on your face must sag. you are destructive because it’s the only thing you can feel, being so jaded. Be careful- Kate Earl might feed some much needed lightness into your body.

  6. It’s true. I’m fat and ugly and bitter and wrinkly and jaded and totally jealous of her and that is EXACTLY why I hated this album and has NOTHING to do with the actual quality, or lack thereof, of the songs. Pat yourselves on the back–you should all be psychology majors. You have figured everything out about me; it’s uncanny. And I haven’t done anything worthwhile with my life, either. Jesus.

  7. I downloaded the album, listened to it through and through, and then proceeded to scour the internet looking for tidbits of information on miss Kate Earl. Unfortunatly I found your link. I don’t know if your reply to some of the comments was genuine or sarcastic, all I know is that before passing judgement on an album, maybe try and listen to it. Out of all the songs, and all the lyrics, the chorus to officer sticks out in your mind. If you truly listened to the album instead of a few songs on myspace, maybe you would have had something worthwhile to say. It is unfortunate that a highly regarded website as this employs such underqualified persons that would produce this much trash. Needless to say I will not be returning to this site for record reviews any longer.

  8. i concur with everyone else. there’s so much more to Kate Earl and her album than the trash that emerged so bitterly from your mind onto this site. maybe she is just a “nice girl,” but there is certainly nothing wrong with that, and its obvious she is wise beyond her years. instead of spending your time writing pitiful “reviews” on the internet, maybe you should go out and actually invest time in really listening to albums like Kate’s. and not only reading the lyrics, but actually feeling the meaning behind them. kate is one of the most promising artists out today. i don’t understand how you could have missed that.

  9. Gee whiz, I did listen to the entire album. I even got a legitimate copy, rather than downloading it. Ahem. I stand by my opinion. I even listened to it a couple of times after I turned the finished product in, hoping to find some sort of redeeming quality in it and: nothing. There is nothing wrong with her music, and I’m sure she has or will get a lot of fans who are filled with sunshine and light and unicorns and have never reacted bitterly or sarcastically to anything in their happy, happy lives ever. I just needed something more challenging than that record. It’s amazing to me how personally people take DIFFERENCES OF OPINION ON THE INTERNET, and how much time they take out of their lives berating people who don’t think exactly the way they do.

  10. i agree with neil, you “music “critics

    are the most bitter, fucked up,

    angry wannabees of all.

    oh yeah, fuck u too!

  11. I drove from Albuquere,NM to Tempe,AZ to see a tour of indie artists hitting the scene. Unfortuantely the artist I drove to see had dropped off the tour. While sitting in this hot musky pub in downtown Tempe I saw this beautiful little blonde girl setting up to play. Yes it was Kate Earl. Instead of hitting the road for my 7 hour trip ahead of me, I stuck around to hear what this girl was up to. The beauty that came from this girls mouth was indescribable. She would breifly give a quick history of each song before singing it, which gives songs such as “Silence” and “Somebody to Love” more meaning then the average Joe who downloaded the CD would ever gain from her simply put lyrics. After her set I was able to sit down with her and talk for a breif moment before I purchased her CD. She is a beautiful, down to earth, talented, humbled girl who has experienced more in her short lifetime than many others can believe. From leaving Alaska at a young age, to her dad dying leaving her and her siblings alone. I listened to the cd the duration of my 7 hours home. It makes you laugh it makes you cry, it makes you relate! If you have only heard the beauty of this girl from a recording, then you have no idea what this girl is capable of. Before judging a young girl with limited funds for a perfect recording, try and check her out live… it will change your life. It changed mine…

  12. This review barely talks about her music. Instead, it criticises how artificially produced her image seems to be and how it doesn’t fit with the idea of female singer/songwriter that the reviewer would clearly prefer. It seems the reviewer, rather than Earl’s team, is the one with her eye on secondary material and not the most important stuff: Earl’s musical talent.

    Now, I happen to think that (from a couple of listens to her album) Kate Earl’s voice doesn’t match up to Norah Jones’ or Fiona Apple’s, but I don’t cast her down into the outer darkness for that. With respect to NormaJean’s last comment (above), there’s much to be said for the differences inherent in live and studio performances and I’ve changed my opinions in the past about several artists and bands whose records didn’t fire me until I heard them live. I imagine Kate Earl could well be the same.

    It also strikes me that with the flooding of MP3 and internet-browsing into the nature of shopping for music, it’s become easier for people not to listen to a record for more than a few seconds: if the initial ‘hit’ (often based on how luxurious the production is) doesn’t make us feel good, we click on the next track or the next artist. It’s very easy to lose patience and forget that, especially when it comes to singer-songwriters, songs and albums are designed to be listened to as whole, not 30 second samplers. I get the feeling that this reviewer — even if she did listen to the whole album through, away from a computer — suffers from this type of malady and consequently switched off her aesthetic and critical faculties as soon as she felt Earl could be hung on the ‘Second-Rate Balladeer’ hook. Maybe she returned her attention to the sex-scenes on the Lifetime movie playing on the box? There certainly didn’t seem to be much cerebral analysis present in the review, just a lot of female jealousy and, dare I say it, frustration?

  13. never giving anyone a chance is the biggest problem in the music industry and this review is a perfect example of that.

    when you’re older – which i downloaded from the itunes music store is a beautiful song which speaks quietly about love and loss and regret. It also mentions self loathing which might just peak your “coolometer” eh?

    Attitude does not equal art. Attitude is sometimes just attitude for the sake of it.

    Bring on more Kate, and if people want to play it at book clubs that let them.

    If Suzanne Vega had come out in 2005 you’d say the same thing I assume.

    Not fair.

  14. People make music. Beautiful music that sometimes might be sappy, beautiful none the less. No one asked you to like it. But for gods sake, let those who do just enjoy it for what it is. I know how cool it makes you sound to say you only listen to “challenging” music, but some of us have enough challenges in our lives that music is something that we do for…..fun! And enjoyment believe it or not.

  15. Not to offend you or anything…..but do you know ANYTHING about music, really? It’s been my experience that music “critics” are often people who love music in all sizes, shapes, and forms, and want to share their opinions with everyone….but many of them tend to be uneducated. So, coming from someone who has spent way too many credit hours learning about music and a countless amount of my life listening, I think Kate Earl is absolutely fabulous. She’s refreshing. While her voice may not be the most unique we’ve ever heard, she certainly holds her own. In addition to that, her musical ideas are awesome. How many artists out there can actually pull off five or six different styles on an album of ten songs and do it well? Not many… that’s why instead of criticizing the fact that she has “cliched” pictures and worthless things like that, try focusing on how she is progressing music. Because if you actually listen closely, you’ll hear what I’m talking about – and it still doesn’t mean that you have to like it. Just give the girl some credit, because she has potential that’s out of this world.

  16. How is Kate Earl “progressing” music exactly? Where specifically do you see her doing anything that’s progressive or innovative and doesn’t sound like a Norah Jones outtake performed by a bar band? What level of education would you recommend that I attain before I write about music again? Most importantly, do you have anything better to do with your time than to covertly and passive-aggressively insult the intelligence of a reviewer on the internet when the review itself is nine months old?

  17. I was searching for lyrics, and I came across this, and I as I was reading the comments, something you said really bothered me.

    “There is nothing wrong with her music, and I’m sure she has or will get a lot of fans who are filled with sunshine and light and unicorns and have never reacted bitterly or sarcastically to anything in their happy, happy lives ever.”

    I am a very bitter person, and a very sarcastic person. Not only am I a sarcastic and bitter person, my friends, who listen to Kate Earl, by the way, also are sarcastic and bitter. That was a really bad assumption to make. And you say you want to be a journalist. The first thing we learned in journalism was to never make wild assumptions…I’m not insulting your intelligence, either…that has been taken care of, I’m sure.

    Also, Kate Earl may not be the best singer in the entire world, but to say her music is awful cause it is happy puts you on a whole new level of bitterness and sarcasm that I can only hope to never reach. And considering who I am as a person, that is saying alot.

  18. Well, obviously. And thanks for backing that up so thoroughly, Talia.

    Did any of you read the entirety of what was written, or do you just enjoy hopping on bandwagons? On the internet? Never was it stated that I disliked the album just because it was “happy.” Never. Derivative, yes. Poorly written at times, yes. More concerned with style than substance, yes. It’s awful easy to take statements out of context and ignore what actually surrounded them, huh?

  19. I think it’s hard to compare ANYTHING to Fiona Apple and Norah Jones because both are amazing artists in their own! Infact I’m obsessed with Fiona Apple, and when I heard Kate Earl I thought…”Oh, finally someone else sees the great wonder and style of my beloved Fiona instead of these rap and pop artists.” Possibly Kate took inspiration from Fiona and Norah, but wanted to make it something of her own. We all feel pain, but we also all feel happiness everyonce in a while (or at least I would hope so.) and that is where Kate comes in. She’s just beginning as well, so who knows, maybe she’ll surprise us one day with something up to par with everyone’s opinion.

    Sarah is right though, she has a right to say her opinion. Obviously don’t let her opinion stop you from listening to Kate if you like her. Nothing to lose sleep over. It’s just an opinion.

  20. It is easy to take statements out of context and it is just as it was easy for you to take Kate Earl’s music out of context. I myself am a journalist and while your review is very well written, I think you’ve missed the point of Earl’s music. You’re too ready to classify it as something that doesn’t quite match up with whatever “Indie” standards have been imposed on today’s society. Listen closely and you’ll hear something that is trully original. Don’t forget that even artists like Radiohead and Bjork, who pride themselves on being musical individualists have in many ways become just as cookie-cutter and mainstream as you describe Earl. You do have some interesting points, but I think that’s just it. You’ve missed the point.

  21. Oh dude, come on. You make me chuckle. Of course I read it, otherwise I wouldn’t have told you how wrong you are. Fiiiiine, I’ll spend the time to “back it up” *salutes* (well if you can be bitter and sarcastic, I can be too.)

    Not only is the production of this CD absolutely innovative, as well as fantastically well put together, but lyrically Kate includes quite literally every emotion in the book. Whether or not you actually understand that- well, that’s not her fault, now is it?

    In terms of her singing voice, she sings quite naturally, very lyrically. Never pushing past her limit or forcing you to listen to belting or screaming. She just makes it effortless, and unlike most of the singers we hear on the radio today, she won’t end up with nodes in a few years.

    The wonderful thing about songwriting is that you are allowed to lie a little. I once had a professor who said that in writing, you often lie to tell the truth. The fact that from this CD you got bubbles and pink and rainbows or whatnot, and that you assume all of us listeners have never had a bad experience ever, means that you simply weren’t really listening. Or that you’ve never written a song… or listened to a good one and taken it apart. Maybe you should try that.

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