3 Songs for People Who Say They Don’t Like Brandi Carlile

Ever since 2018 and the release of her album By the Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile has been a star in the music world. That LP earned her three Grammy Awards and three more nominations. Since then, she’s amassed a total of 10 Grammys and 27 noms. With all of this success in a relatively short time, some may raise a smug eyebrow and wonder where all this positive attention comes from.

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That’s why we wanted to compile this list, a trio of songs to prove exactly why Carlile is deserving of all these accolades. Indeed, here are three songs for people who say they don’t like the big-voiced, prolific songwriter, Brandi Carlile.

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“The Joke” from By the Way, I Forgive You (2018)

When Carlile’s 2018 album was ready to conclude, there was a feeling amongst her and her team that it needed just one more track. So, pushed for time but buzzing with inspiration, Carlile wrote this song and it became the hit, Grammy-winning single from the LP. The song, which is about people who might be considered marginalized or on the fringes of society, is meant to uplift those who might not always know that feeling. Carlile told NPR, “The song is just for people that feel underrepresented, unloved, or illegal.” And on the song, she sings,

You’re feeling nervous, aren’t you, boy?
With your quiet voice and impeccable style
Don’t ever let them steal your joy
And your gentle ways, to keep ’em from running wild
They can kick dirt in your face
Dress you down, and tell you that your place
Is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine
I see you tugging on your shirt
Trying to hide inside of it and hide how much it hurts

“The Story” from The Story (2007)

“The Story” is the song that helped inspire “The Joke.” When Carlile was working on that 2018 album, her engineer Dave Cobb pointed to the track and said By the Way, I Forgive You needed a vocal moment like that on “The Story.” And with that direction, Carlile went to work. As for her 2007 song, it was written by her longtime collaborator Phil Hanseroth and is about the experiences small and large that we all go through and how the stories of our lives aren’t as special if we cannot share them with the ones we love. This song was Carlile’s breakout hit, putting her on the map and helping her grow into even more later in her career. On the song, she sings,

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am

But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to, it’s true
I was made for you

“Party of One” from By the Way, I Forgive You (2018)

The second single released from Carlile’s 2018 album, this track also ends the album. The brittle track was so good that Carlile and Sam Smith recorded a brilliant duet of the song in 2018 (which you can check out here). The song itself is about a fight between lovers, the dangers of anger, and the hopeful makeup at the end. It’s a cycle many can understand, the ups and downs of real love. And the single includes an excellent music video starring Elisabeth Moss. On the track, Carlile sings,

“Waiter, send this to the table, the party of one”
The only other lonely soul in this place
And so you’re finishing up your coffee, but then where you’re gonna run?
Where’d you get that look on your face?

You should always let the sun go down on your anger
Let it burn you to sleep
Bring it closer to danger, to surrender and retreat
Sing your sad soul to sleep

I loved you the first time I saw you
And you know I love you still
But I am tired
And I am yours

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Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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