This Friday, Vanessa Carlton will release her new album, Love Is An Art. Fans have already heard “Future Pain,” “The Only Way To Love,” and “Miner’s Canary,” plus live performances of “Love Is An Art” and “I Know You Don’t Mean It.” Now, with just four days left until the album drops, Vanessa is doing daily livestreams, keeping fans’ anticipation high. Each day, she’ll play one new song and one older song. Yesterday she did “I Know You Don’t Mean It” and “White Houses”; today, Vanessa returned to “House Of Seven Swords” and debuted a brand new song: “Salesman.”
Vanessa co-wrote “Salesman” with the singer-songwriter Tristen. Though the album version of the song features guitar, drums, and swirling synths, Vanessa’s performance today was stripped back, just the piano and her voice. It features a heartbreaking chorus – “Handsome salesman sold you heaven. Now you wait for it to fall.” – and a stormy bridge of crashing piano chords.
Tristen described the lyrics of “Salesman”:
This song is about weaving a web of lies into your romantic relationship in order to preserve it. In love relationships, we sometimes accept flaws, poor treatment and even infidelity. And although the wife in this song and her partner have accepted the shortcomings, exaggerations, denials, power struggles, unfairness, and even abuse of their relationship, the mother now has a child that sees her. In the song, the mother must lie to the child. Whilst the mother has grown numb to the lies she tells herself, she cannot forgive the lies she tells her child.
Hear Vanessa’s debut of “Salesman” in her livestream video below. The song starts at about 2:50.
Following the new song’s debut, Vanessa then plays “House Of Seven Swords” off her last album, Liberman.
“Salesman” will appear on Vanessa’s upcoming album, Love Is An Art, out March 27th. Pre-order the album here now.
In contrast to the piano-and-vocal version Vanessa performed today, the studio recording of “Salesman” sounds pretty different. Hear a preview below:
Love Is An Art Tracklisting
In December, we reported on 12 new Vanessa Carlton songs that had registered online. It turns out, all 12 of those songs will appear on the new album. See the full tracklisting for Love Is An Art:
- I Can’t Stay The Same
- Companion Star
- I Know You Don’t Mean It
- Die Dinosaur
- Love Is An Art
- Future Pain
- Back To Life
- The Only Way To Love
- Miner’s Canary
- Break To Save [Bonus Track]
In a recent interview with Blueberry Hill, we got to hear a bit more about some of the songs. “Die, Dinosaur” was written after the shootings in Parkland, Florida and is about “the children who fill the world with love and grace while politicians fill their pockets.” She described “Miner’s Canary” as a confessional song about “reckoning with toxic relationships.” Meanwhile, “Companion Star” focuses on relationships that last forever. “I Can’t Stay the Same,” on the other hand, describes “the relationship with the person staring back at us in the mirror, each and every morning.”
Fans may also remember “Patience”; Vanessa uploaded a 1-minute recording of the song to SoundCloud way back in 2012. It’s exciting that we finally get to hear a proper recording of the song!
The album’s songs were partially inspired by philosopher Erich Fromm’s 1956 book, The Art of Loving. Vanessa co-wrote all the songs with singer-songwriter Tristen. Dave Fridmann served as producer on the album.
Vanessa had a two-legged North American tour planned for this spring. Unfortunately, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Vanessa has postponed the dates. No new dates have been announced yet, but a rescheduled tour is in the works, so stay tuned.
It’ll be worth the wait, because this will be the first time in a decade that Vanessa tours and performs with a full band. Yes, we’ll finally get to hear the songs as big as ever again!
Revisiting Vanessa’s Work
Vanessa Carlton’s last album, Liberman, came out in fall 2015. It launched stunning singles like “Blue Pool,” “Operator,” “House Of Seven Swords,” and “Nothing Where Something Used To Be.” Since then, Vanessa also released a few special albums and EPs. We got Liberman Live in 2016, followed by the Earlier Things Live EP in 2017. Then in 2018, Vanessa released six covers; you can now get them all in one package on vinyl.
Last year, Vanessa Carlton also moved into exciting new territory: Broadway! From June 27th through September 1st, Vanessa played Carole King in the Broadway musical, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. Will musical theater continue to play a role in Vanessa’s future or influence her own music?
Love Is An Art is due out later this week on March 27th. Enjoy the live debut of “Salesman” – as well as the other songs and live performances – and get ready for the full album. As we count down the days, catch up on all we know about the album so far here. As always, keep checking back here for all the latest Vanessa Carlton music news.