Trailer Park (Legacy Edition)
I was twenty and living in Austin when I first heard Beth Orton. She laid the soundtrack to my existential search for love and self and meaning. Trailer Park is the kind of record you listen to while laying on your bed, questioning your life, your love, or playing against the background in a movie scene where you walk along the railroad tracks, hands in your pocket during a particularly emotional moment. When I see photos of Kristin Stewart, for some reason, Beth Orton sings in my head.
Orton has the smooth soft voice of an old school siren, but there is so much depth to her quiet and gentle sound that it’s difficult to pinpoint whether it’s her voice or her emotions that pour into each song. In some ways, Orton has a Portishead aesthetic of mixing trip hop with a woman’s beautiful voice, but without the affectation of Beth Gibbons, Orton just sings with a vulnerability and softness that still manages to get your attention. One of the best songs on the album is a cover of the Ronette’s “I Never Saw the Sunshine,” a quiet memorable track that captures what is best about Trailer Park and Orton—not overdone, not showy, just simple and straightforward, but powerful. There are also two different versions of “Best Bit” that are both remarkable in their own way.
Part British folk, part interlude, Beth Orton’s /B001C5R2QW?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B001C5R2QW) adds a second disc of thirteen extra tracks, including live versions of several noteworthy songs, such as “Galaxy of Emptiness.” Lyrics like “Won’t you please knock me off my feet for awhile? Could you please knock me off my feet for awhile?” express completely what is so good about Orton and this album.
The heir to Carole King and Joni Mitchell, the original album fell onto the rainy London streets in the mid-90s, and a little more than ten years later, the legacy addition can reach out to a new generation of fans.