Reviews: Christina Perri and The Baseball Project

April 16, 2014 

Pop

Christina Perri

Head or Heart | ★★★☆☆

Perri has had a charmed career, with TV and movie exposure giving extraordinary boosts to her early singles Jar of Hearts and A Thousand Years. It's the honest, vulnerable timbre of her voice that makes Perri's songs so cinematically suited and turns her second album into a fetching tone poem. Whether on the simple, almost Celtic plaint of Trust, the bouncy pop duet Be My Forever with Ed Sheeran or the satisfyingly anthemic I Don't Wanna Break, Perri sings with stirring emotional sincerity.

David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer

Rock

The Baseball Project

3RD |★★★★☆

If there is a limit to how many terrific songs it can mine from the national pastime, the Baseball Project hasn't hit it yet. This band of well-established rockers and diamond fanatics (front men Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Mike Mills) continue to hit for a consistently high average. And this third album is as infectiously tuneful as the first two, but it also rocks harder in places.

On 3RD, the Baseball Project revels in all kinds of stories, from The Babe to the tragically flawed Lenny Dykstra ("You gotta fly high to fall this far") and down to the obscure Larry Yount, whose story is the album's most poignant. The rockers also celebrate scrappy underdogs (They Are the Oakland A's), the joy of reading Box Scores, and the further adventures of a Pirate who infamously pitched a no-hitter on LSD (The Day Dock Went Hunting Heads).

As steeped as they are in the game's history, these musicians also excel at baseball as metaphor: Extra Inning of Love is a seductive, Philly-style soul ballad that's all about going well beyond first base.

Nick Cristiano, Philadelphia Inquirer

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