Sarah Buxton, “Space”

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October 8, 2008

I have a sneaking suspicion that Sarah Buxton will develop into a songwriter for the ages.   She’s getting there already.  “Space” builds a song around a classic break-up line – “I need space” – and explores all of its implications.

There’s a distinct tension between her claim that she’s willing to give him space, and the stark portrait of loneliness that she paints of his future existence without her.  There’s a sense that she doesn’t want him to go, but that she can’t quite understand how to love a man who needs to be alone to find happiness.

Buxton’s never been showcased so well on record before.  The stripped-down arrangement and her rough vocal are a perfect match the rawness of the material.   It’s so intimate that it’s almost uncomfortable to listen to at points, but she pulls back and the band comes in for the chorus, giving some necessary emotional breathing room.   It’s well-constructed without sounding deliberately crafted.

Grade: A

Listen: Space

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  1. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Wow! Great song. I think just the right amount of hurt is infused into this song. I can only imagine it’s how I’d feel if I were in that situation. Not only is she a terriffic songwriter, I think she is great at vocal interpretation, as demonstrated by this song in particular.

  2. I think it was a good thing for her to go out on songwriter nights with Gretchen Peters, Matraca Berg and Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

  3. Matt BNo Gravatar says:

    Kevin, Great review. I definitely agree. If this song isn’t a hit for her, nothing will be (Though some people like Rick posted and said they didn’t see it being a hit).

  4. JulesNo Gravatar says:

    I adore this track and originally heard the demo version posted on her MySpace a few months ago. It’s so raw and pained but not uncomfortable. Hopefully this will take off at radio but I’m honestly not holding my breath.

  5. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Kevin, I’d have to agree. Matt, there’s no way for me to predict what will work for radio these days. I’ve given up on trying.

  6. I LOVE this song. I heard her sing it at 3rd & Lindsley last spring, and was blown away.

  7. Matt BNo Gravatar says:

    Leeann,

    I agree but my gut reaction is that this is a big ole hit and my gut reactions are usually right. For example, I thought that about “Just Got Started Loving You” but didn’t feel that way about “For You” by James Otto. I also had the ‘gut feeling’ about Emerson Drive’s “Moments.”

  8. Greg M says:

    Great song. I wish Buxton had more traction than she did because she can sing. It’s like she came onto the scene, didn’t get anything which was unfortunate, and now is trying again. I hope she is successful this time and maybe she releases Cowboys, which for some reason was my favorite song from her.

  9. Matt C.No Gravatar says:

    And how is this a country song?

    This song is too AC even for country radio, especially since it was recorded by an unestablished female artist. I do think that Sarah Buxton is talented, but this song essentially disregards the genre and if this is the kind of drivel that she insists on releasing, I won’t mourn her failure but rather applaud county radio’s good judgment.

  10. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, I’m honestly not too sure about this one myself. I like Sarah Buxton and I like moments of the song, but to me, it really sounds like something any high school-aged girl might write after a break-up. The rawness is cool, but aside from one or two lines, I just don’t think there’s a lot of depth to the writing. And I agree with Matt that there’s very little to mark this as a country single, even by radio’s lenient standards. Eh.

  11. Jim MalecNo Gravatar says:

    Buxton sings the word “Space” seven times in the first 1:30 of of the song, and the hook devolves into, “You say you need space/Well I’ll give you space.”

    There’s nothing even remotely interesting about this song.

    “You won’t have to deal/With anything real
    I won’t be here/I’ll just disappear”

    Really? That’s the best she’s got? This is the same woman who wrote “Stupid Boy?” The songwriting here is incredibly pedestrian.

  12. TomNo Gravatar says:

    if my goose bumps upon first listening are any indication, this song might be a hit for sarah buxton. being an agreeable vocalist(interesting voice) with some song-writing talent, she’s up against people like taylornation swift. unfortunately, sarah buxton’s star-appeal compared to taylor swift’s is that of a cactus in a rose garden.

  13. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I listened to it again just to make sure I still liked it and that it wasn’t just the positive review. I’m still going to agree with Kevin (and we do disagree sometimes).

    I really think this is a great song. I think the point of using “space” a lot is purposeful, which makes sense considering the point she’s trying to drive home. She sings the song with more emotion than all too many artists do these days. Finally, as far as the song being remotely country? I see what you mean at the beginning, but once the chorus kicks in, there’s no doubt that it’s country to me…and my country tent is pretty small, as people should know by now.

  14. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    I’m on the fence for this one. The ‘rawness’ in the vocal performance and the intimacy of the production are big plusses, but the lyrics are a little lightweight, although I also believe the usage of the word “space” is intended to make an impression.

    Trick Pony cut a Matraca Berg song a few years ago called “Stand in the Middle of Texas,” and this song is an echo of that one.

    Oh, there ain’t no changin’ you, darlin’,
    You’re too dead set in your ways.
    ‘Cause you’d stand in the middle of Texas,
    An’ tell me you needed some space

  15. I like the song, I like everything she’s done so far an I’m hoping that this one’ll be a hit, but I don’t see radio playing this one. It’s a little too slow for radio and with very few female artist getting radio time I doubt they’ll go for this one. I found her song “Tomorrow” to be much more interesting and was hoping for that one to be released.

  16. jessiannNo Gravatar says:

    i can not fing your song ” space” g.r.r.r

  17. Fadi H.No Gravatar says:

    i love this song. i didn’t like it the first few times i heard it coz i wasn’t in the right time/place to actually listen and the song isn’t the kind of thing to just have in the background.
    i love the repitition of space, and i love the raw voice, it feels more like real genuine talking rather than colorful singing, which u would do when u’re frustrated.
    to me the song really works. even though i haven’t been in a similar situation before, she makes me imagine the situation and the characters and a certain scene like it’s right in front of my eyes. there’s a little part in the song, the silence before the first chorus, it gives me chills.

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