Martha Wainwright, Goodnight City

Canadian singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright released her sixth studio album, Goodnight City, last year.

 By Jane Howkins.

   Goodnight City is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright (including her 2009 tribute to legendary French singer Edith Piaf), having been formally released late last year.

   Martha has at times been overshadowed by her brother Rufus Wainwright and the rest of her musical family, but it’s made perfectly clear on Goodnight City that she’s talented enough to stand on her own two feet. Rufus has helped with some of the writing duties, but it’s still very much Martha’s album. The singer-songwriter also wrote with several other musical friends when preparing for this release, including Beth Orton, Glen Hansard, Michael Ondaatje, and Merrill Garbus of tune-yArDs. Due to this, Goodnight City has a good mix of styles and genres presents, with each song having a slightly different sound to it.

   One thing that’s immediately apparent is that there’s a very definite 90s alt-rock influence present, with So Down particularly reminding us of that era. It’s a grunge orientated track with a sound not dissimilar to the music Hole (the band Courtney Love used to front) made, with a hard edge to it that’s quite welcome in today’s sterile, electronic world. Goodnight City is rather reminiscent of that era in general, with us also being reminded of the female singer-songwriters who emerged in that decade (think Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple & Ani DiFranco), many of whom took on alt-rock stylings throughout their early careers.

   It’s clear that creating Goodnight City has been very much a passion project for Martha Wainwright. There are a lot of different things to digest on the album, but it’s definitely worth checking out if any of the above even remotely interests you. There really is something here for everyone, and it’s great to hear an artist so willing to experiment and collaborate.