Spun: Sarah Slean

Part live album, part studio recording, Sarah Slean’s fifth album, Orphan Music, is both elating and disappointing. Clocking in at 15 tracks, Orphan Music gives listeners an hour-long showcase of Slean’s classically-trained voice and piano talents melded with her signature foot-tapping, catchy pop stylings.

This is where the elation ends.

Apart from five previously unreleased tracks–the “orphans” that didn’t find their way onto Slean’s other albums–the remainder of Orphan Music is live recording and has been done before on 2004’s Day One.

Some artist’s live shows are so breathtakingly different from their studio material that they warrant a live recording. Slean is not one of these artists. While her live material is still pleasing to listen too, it’s just not different enough from her studio material–at least not at this point in her career. It’s almost as if Slean knew this and tagged on the five “orphan” tracks to allow listeners to differentiate between Day One and Orphan Music.

Yes, Orphan Music makes for a pleasing listen, but Slean would have been better off to write five more songs and release a brand-new full-length, rather than feeding fans reheated leftovers.

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