“The Story” by folk-rocker Brandi Carlile, released in 2007 on the album by the same name, is almost too new to categorize as a “rewind.” Also, the song itself was not a huge chart success (it peaked at #75 on the Billboard Hot 100), nor did it garner Carlile any awards.
So why is it on the Rock Rewind? Simply put, I’m a sucker for girl rockers singing outstanding songs.
It’s a simple song with a simple structure: the same melody line sung over the same chord progression five times through the song, basically five verses and no chorus. But the best songs are often the simplest ones, and the passion Carlile expresses here is absolutely captivating. I remember the first time I heard “The Story”, listening to Carlile warbling sweetly through the first verse, and thinking, “Oh, this is nice.” Then on the second line of the second verse (listen for it on the video)—POW! I remember hearing those Janis Joplin-esque vocals, stopping whatever I was doing, and saying to myself, “Wow! Where did THAT come from?”
As I’d suggested before, “The Story” didn’t sell a bazillion records nor get Brandi Carlile any Grammys. But it did wind up being featured on Grey’s Anatomy, and her passionate, raw performance of the tune was enough to win over a strong, loyal fan base and give her career a solid boost. Carlile’s latest album, last year’s Bear Creek, made it to the Top Ten on the Billboard charts, making it her best-selling effort to date.
Carlile’s own story is still being written, and there will probably be many more hits to come. But for Carlile fans like myself, “The Story” will probably always be our favorite. Enjoy!