Hopeful. Romantic [Barnes & Noble Exclusive]

Hopeful. Romantic [Barnes & Noble Exclusive]

4.5 13
by Renee Stahl

With her velvety voice and thoughtful songs, Renee Stahl emerges with one of the freshest-sounding folk-pop albums in recent memory. Fans of Suzanne Vega, Sarah McLachlan, and Dido need look no further than Hopeful. Romantic. Whether couching her poetic musings in lightly…  See more details below


With her velvety voice and thoughtful songs, Renee Stahl emerges with one of the freshest-sounding folk-pop albums in recent memory. Fans of Suzanne Vega, Sarah McLachlan, and Dido need look no further than Hopeful. Romantic. Whether couching her poetic musings in lightly strummed acoustic guitars and delicately plinking bells, as on the sweetly melancholy "You Didn't Know," or shaking out the kinks with the resounding chorus and lush production of "Music 101," Stahl knows how to craft a note that carries. And her feather-light vocals also make a big impression with a minimum of fanfare, caressing cuts such as the melodic "Isn't It Easy" with grace and surprising strength. Stahl reveals her fondness for electronic beats, subtly employed, on songs like the beat-driven "Adore," presented in two versions -- the spacious "Yachts in Mix" being the more lounge-friendly of the two. With Hopeful. Romantic, Renee Stahl flaunts her earthiness, her versatility, and her natural ear for folk-pop melodies. Melancholy has rarely sounded so sweet.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stewart Mason
Singer/songwriter Renee Stahl doesn't fit neatly in any particular subgenre. Sharing some characteristics with everyone from Patty Griffin and Dar Williams to Sarah McLachlan and Beth Orton, Stahl creates an appealing, cozy style of AAA folk-pop that's conducive to lazy afternoons in suburban coffeehouses but not so vapid that it isn't suitable for any other locations. Ranging from simple, largely acoustic and folk-based tunes like "You Didn't Know" to lusher songs like the Aimee Mann-like ballad "Isn't It Easy" and the sweetly poppy, radio-friendly first single "Music 101," Hopeful Romantic is a mild but appealing set. The biggest surprise is "Adore," an electronic ballad presented in two versions, both of which recall Everything But the Girl's mid-'90s dip into downtempo club music. It's testament to Stahl's vocal skill that neither version sounds like either a sell-out attempt or a bid for credibility in a genre outside her own, but the song does rather stick out in these mellow surroundings.

Product Details

Release Date:
Barnes Noble Consign


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Renee Stahl   Primary Artist,Guitar,Background Vocals
Leslie King   Background Vocals
Chad Fischer   Drums
Probyn Gregory   Flugelhorn
Byron Thames   Piano
Jano Janosik   Drums
Bill Lefler   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Mellotron,Wurlitzer,Bas Dessus
James Hood   Drums
Richard Jacques   Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Track Performer
Mike Schmid   Piano
Kevin Hunter   Piano

Technical Credits

Leslie King   Composer
Lee Spencer   Atmosphere
Renee Stahl   Composer
Bill Lefler   Producer
James Hood   Producer,drum programming
Richard Jacques   Composer,Producer
Hugo Vereker   Executive Producer
Kevin Hunter   Arranger,Composer

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Customer Reviews

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Hopeful. Romantic [Barnes & Noble Exclusive] 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Cd is quite simply superb.If you like to listen to a voice of such rounded perfection since the likes of Karen Carpenter matched to fine contemporary melodic folktronica this ones for you....good songs too
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this album! A beautiful melodic voice...incredible lyrics that pull at the heart strings. Highly recommend!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the opening shimmer of a doubled acoustic guitar to the final fade of an infectious drum beat, the musicianship on "hopeful.romantic" is top notch. But it is the voice of Renee Stahl that is the true star of this gorgeous and indispensable record -- a voice that enters directly into your heart and wraps around it like your favorite blanket. While her smooth alto is almost impossibly beautiful, Ms. Stahl sings (and clearly lives) so directly from her soul that every note feels like a visit from your oldest and best friend. And lucky you: your friend is possessed of a refined sensibility for the subtle beauties of life in all its melancholy and elation, and she does so with the passion of a lover and the philosophical gifts of Mother Theresa. The effect is so deliciously effortless that Ms. Stahl's advanced songwriting skill won't hit you until much, much later. In the meantime, you'll be driving around singing her addictive melodies. And what varied scenery you'll see along the way. With an ingenious mix of organic instruments and electronic ear candy, "hopeful.romantic" keeps the journey ever interesting. James Hood's otherwordly mixes would be at home with Imogen Heap (particularly "adore - yachts in space mix") and in European dance clubs, but his deft touch never overshadows the song. Bill Lefler's inventive, organic production style shines throughout, grounding the record as a whole and keeping it fun, sexy, real, and rockin'. The production on "Isn't It Easy," with its caramel-y fluegel horn and swinging parlor room piano is my personal favorite, and enhances that song's great waltz feel with New Orleans spice. Kudos also to beautiful background vocals by Leslie King and excellent guitar work by Rich Jacques, who both share songwriting credit on several tracks. The work of every single player on this record deserves special mention for playing that is not only masterful and tasteful, but filled with soul. My current favorites are "Run," with its stunningly intimate vocals, "Nothings Missing," with an inspired touch of crickets keeping a moonlit heartbeat throughout, and "Daydreamer's Dream," a Beatle-esque soundscape to die for. But it is the tasty single, "Music 101," that delivers the mission of the record: "I wanna be the music in your head/I wanna be the music in your heart..." Mission accomplished.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This disk has not left my player since I received it. From the lighthearted and irresistable "Music 101," to the propulsively sexy techno "Adore," to the bleak and gorgeous "Something Real," each note rings true. This artist's voice is an instrument of unsurpassed clarity and beauty. There is not one dud track, so this release is a rarity, listenable from start to finish. I recommend repeated listenings...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this new album by Renee Stahl - it hits all the right notes from her gorgeous voice and lovely, catchy melodies to the groovy backings. I've listened to it over and over since I bought it and recommended it to dozens of people. I think women especially will dig Stahl's wise intimate tone, but it's also great, universal music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written CD: moody and thoughtful, with both upbeat tunes you can open your car windows and belt at the top of your lungs to, as well as pensive and -- shall I say romantic? -- cuts you can play over and over until you know them by heart. many of the tracks induce so much feeling it's as if you wrote them yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
renee's voice is so lyrical and kind - it weaves compassion into composition. you want to breathe more when you hear it as her words and her sound inspire hope, truth and a deep sense of belonging to something loving and light. when i am listening to her, i love to sing along and while i sing i am reminded of this soft and hopeful place inside myself that i miss deeply...renee's music gives a sense of that back to me. it's beautiful...and so is she!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutly loved the soft side of this CD. It is romantic and I loved her soft voice while listening to it you could feel her emotions coming forth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so blown away by Renee's cd Hopeful and Romantic. I can't stop listening to it and it continually brings me to tears of joy. Especially " Adore" and "Nothings Missing" absolutely sublime and so powerful. What a gift Renee' is!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though this is certainly not a bad CD, it isn't really great either. Defintely a moody piece, it verges on the "nice background music" genre. I like CD's that really move me in one direction or another. CD's that are for the background are okay, but certainly not worth the money. It seems a little too trying to be something rather than just being something. Contrived is the word I would use, somehow seeming like a bunch of hipsters got together and patted themselves on the back about how great it all is and, to be honest, it's just not great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is wonderful music, no darkness, all light! My favorite is "You didn't know" the words are so touching, and so true for so many!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is so bad. It is overflowing with fluff, predictability, cheesy-ness, and the production value is very weak. The lyrics seem like they were written by a 13-year-old taking their first song-writing class. Musically, this album has a bit of potential--but the lyrics ruin it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cd is incredible. the melodies are catchy..there are so many hit songs on this cd. it's on constant rotation in my car and home. the lyrics are profound. eveyone I play it for loves it too!