My Paper Heart (Bonus Track Version)
Sunny in tone and uplifting in spirit, My Paper Heart presents singer/songwriter Francesca Battistelli as a woman of faith and emotion, meeting the world with an enraptured heart. Her debut release is very much in the piano-centered pop/rock mode of Tori Amos and Sara Bareilles, minus the angst and sarcasm. Producer Ian Eskelin goes for a brightly contemporary sound, framing Francesca’s sweet yet forceful vocals with cleanly-wrought arrangements. “Free to Be Me,” “Unpredictable,” and the title tune are typical of the album’s upbeat tracks with their easy-flowing tempos and ear-snagging keyboard hooks. “Blue Sky” shows off a sensuous R&B undercurrent in Battistelli’s style, while “Time in Between” suggests an affinity for theatrical pop. The album’s songs stress the positive changes God has brought to the singer’s life; “I’m Letting Go” captures this sense of liberation with its strutting tempo and confident lyrics. When Battistelli offers a worship song with “Forever Love,” she makes her praise sound personal and intimate. It’s this natural quality that ultimately distinguishes My Paper Heart. Battistelli’s technical gifts and vibrant optimism make this an eminently likeable effort.