Monday, October 29, 2007

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!

These may or may not be newly released disks. They might not even be a good disk - just what is been in heavy rotation in my car (as usually the iPod is playing anywhere else).

I love Annie Lennox. Her voice. Her music. Her persona.

So why am I not 100% overjoyed at Songs of Mass Destruction? Maybe it's producer Glen Ballard - let's face it, the man can do wonders (Alanis' 'Jagged Little Pill') or schlock ('Wilson Phillips'). The man has no consistent track record.

Don't get me wrong - Lennox is in fine voice and her keyboard work is better than good - but the songs aren't resonating with me. Sure, some of them are, and overall, it's an ok disk. .....which is still better than 98.8% of the crap that is out there. And it certainly is better than her last one - Bare.

I am starting with the weakest song: "Sing". Ugh. Yes, the premise is done with a noble and good cause, but isn't she just pandering by having back-up vocals by Fergie (!) and other people of lesser or no-talent (umm....did I mention Fergie?). Only Madonna has prominent part in this song - and I'm not saying that's a good thing. Did no one listen to how weak her vocals are compared to a powerhouse like Lennox? Sad sad sad.

Womanhood is the theme of the record. It is mentioned in at least four songs - and the title of one of them.

But fear not - there is good stuff on here. "Ghost in My Machine" is far and away the best song on the disk. There is a rockin' cajun accordian thing going on there than more than makes the song a stand-out.

"Dark Room" did not immediately hit with me, but after multiple listens it is a pretty strong track. But an initial single? It's a hard sell for airplay, but let's face it, the days of Lennox getting on the radio are slim. She's not a tween in a Disney movie or isn't public fodder for websites. She has no 'Grey's Anatomy' tie-ins. How else does one get on the radio these days? Not with quality product - that's for sure.

What I've loved about Lennox's music is that even though she is so identifiable with the Eurythmics, she has been able to forge her own solo path. Here she doesn't shy away from some of those early '80s influences. Check out "Coloured Bedspread" (Touch-esque).

Some other songs could have been lifted off her first solo disk, Diva....and that is not a bad thing. "Through the Glass Darkly" and "Love is Blind" are extremely solid efforts.

I do not regret the purchase one little bit. As I write this, I zero in on the reason it's not an outstanding album. For a woman who for 20+ years continually broke ground as an artist and never/rarely repeated herself - I don't hear anything earth shattering here.

Where that might not mean much for other artists - it does for her.

1 comment:

RJ March said...

Well, I have to tell you, you are dead-on with your critique. I kept waiting to hear something that would either fill my eyes with tears, as she has done with "Hurting Time," or make my heaart swell with a different kind of emotion-- like, oh, well, just about everything she's done. I heard some nice songs and I admit I probably haven't given it the listen you've given it. I just thought it was okay. Annie Lennox okay outdoes half the bitches singing these days. I just was hoping for a little more.