Chantal Kreviazuk 

Ghost Stories

Chantal Kreviazuk is responsible for penning hits for the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, and Gwen Stefani. No slouch behind the microphone herself, Kreviazuk does just as well when singing her own songs. On her fourth full-length, Ghost Stories, the follow-up to 2003's What If It All Means Something, Kreviazuk turns herself inside out. She alternates between passionate screeches that, instead of making you cringe, make you want to empathize on "Spoke in Tongues" and more monotone low-key sentiments on "So Cold." Gentle pianos usher in "Grow Up So Fast," but they build up powerfully to the chorus, which is as tender as it is piercing. Strings bolster "Asylum," leaving out the gratuitous factor while enhancing Kreviazuk's emotional delivery. Ghost Stories could so easily fall into overwrought female territory, but it doesn't – not for one second. 4 stars.

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