This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Trapped somewhere in the fame netherworld between Next Big Thing and Whatever Happened To … ?, Sam Phillips has long been one of the most underappreciated singer-songwriters in contemporary music.
On her first studio album in five years, Phillips once again delivers the goods that have made her a critics’ darling. The intimate and graceful Fan Dance features what may be her most impressive and expressive work to date. It’s easily the most varied — the Asian-tinged seduction of the title track, the sweet Beatlesque pop of Edge of the World and Taking Pictures, the brooding, Lou Reed–Street Hassle cellos of Wasting My Time, the languidly ethereal Cowboy Junkies roots-pop of How to Dream and the Tom Waits Cabaret noir of Incinerator show us sides of Sam we’ve never seen before. OK, so maybe she’ll never be the Next Big Thing. But with Fan Dance she lets us know she’s not ready to be a Rock ’N’ Roll Jeopardy question just yet.