CD Review: Vanessa Carlton

Rabbits on the Run (Razor & Tie)

It's been almost 10 years since Vanessa Carlton's debut single, "A Thousand Miles," topped a thousand different pop charts. Since then she's struggled for another hit. Record-company shuffling and some head-scratching career moves (her last album, 2007's Heroes & Thieves, was on hip-hop mogul Irv Gotti's label) didn't help. But through it all she's pretty much played the same piano-driven pop that drove "A Thousand Miles." On her fourth album, Rabbits on the Run, she once again settles into safe, pleasant, adult-alternative pop, which the 30-year-old singer-songwriter is now officially old enough to play. The best songs keep it simple: the spare piano runs that play beneath "Carousel," the whispered confessional of "I Don't Want to Be a Bride." It's the sound of a grown-up Carlton finding some footing. — Michael Gallucci

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