Sound — 9
Using a "Wall of Sound" throughout the record, Nicole Atkins's voice is astonishing. She brought in a full orchestra to play of the songs and you can tell through its fullness and depth. I feel that one of the small issues of the album is the band is a tad quiet causing her voice to boom whereas live the band has a strong hold on the sound. A little known fact about the creation of this album was that it was suppossed to be due out in July of 2007 but Columbia messed up the sound and it couldn't be played without a scratching so as a little bonus, "Skywriters" was added to all the albums that were pre-ordered for July as well as a remastered disc that fufills the expectations of the album.
Lyrics — 9
Atkins uses melodic guitar and piano riffs to set the scene for her songs that are tales about teenage life in Neptune City, New Jersey. The album begins with the catchy "Maybe Tonight" telling the story of 2 kids that have been in love for their lives and are now leaving one another. Similar stories take place in the guitar-driven "Cool Enough" and upbeat "Party's Over". Another theme takes place in Neptune City which is that of a broken heart. Songs like the hit "The Way it Is", "Together We are Both Alone and "War Torn" talk about presumably the broken heart of Nicole Atkins with lines like "my blood is just roaring//when he's the only one I've ever wanted//I suppose that's just the way it is" from "The Way It Is". Nicole doesn't just have lyrics of romanticism(or lackthereof), but some party songs that keep fans excited like "Love Surreal" and "Kill the Headlights". At last we have the title track, which is a map through both Atkins's mind and her hometown. Nicole Atkins wields a powerful voice reminiscent of Roy Orbison and breaks out in this album.
Overall Impression — 9
Most songs on this album are impressive both in their orchestration and Nicole's voice. Compared to the other music that's put out by female "pop singers", Nicole blows them away! Had the band been louder and have more control of the sound, then this would be a 10/10. If it were stolen or lost I'd buy it again immediately.