110 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2003
I've only recently gotten on an Annie Lennox kick and about the time I was becoming interested in her music her new CD comes out. It's fate I tell ya...
Anyway...what a sophisticated and brilliant work this is. From the liner notes (on the back cover so even if someone wasn't to buy the album they could still read Annie's words to her fans) which are compelling and honest to the pulsing beats and haunting vocals, this is a CD I won't be without for a long time.
Again about the notes on the back cover. In several short sentences she welcomes listeners new and old. Discussing her motivations from everything from lyrics to an in-depth explanation of the cover...it's clear this is an artist to be reckoned with.
I love Pavement Cracks (what a hook that song has), Bitter Pill, and Honesty. All the songs are easy on the ear and not only leave you humming the tune but also missing every minute you are away from them.
Throw away your teeny-bopper and boy band CD's, toss your British imports and bootlegs...this is THE CD to buy.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2003
It wouldn't be realistic for anybody to claim not to listen to pop music at all. That's what makes it more difficult to produce a masterpiece-album in pop than in any other genre. In this sense , and in many others, Annie's 1992 album "Diva" was a true triumph in adult pop music. With this album she showed us her amazing capacity to blend different musical disciplines (soul , funk , rock , pure pop , electronic...) and an eclectic collection of arrangements; though creating a conceptually rigid album. The album was backed up with perfect production an excellent audio-visual "diva" concept (remember the album sleeve and the Grammy-winner video) which helped the album eventually become a cult artistic collection of words, music and images.
My devotion to "Diva" at first made it difficult for me to believe that she would ever be able to produce an album that good again. Having listened to "Bare", now I have second thoughts. Bare is a collection of beautiful and exquisite music and lyrics. The overall structure is consistent in musical , lyrical and conceptual preferences. "A Thousand Beautiful Things" is one of the best openings I've ever listened to. It's elegant , stylish , complex in vocal arrangements and thereby a perfect sample of what kind of songs we encounter in the rest of the album. "Pavement Cracks" is a catchy , beautiful electro - pop piece in the 80's, particularly Eurythmics style. I think it possesses the spirit to become a classic in the long run. My favourite piece is "The Hurting Time", a hypnotizing , charming ballad which extremely suits Annie's vocal characteristics , enables her and the musicians to improvise and add their emotions to the melodies. The successor to this masterpiece is another source of beauty; "Honestly". Two different but simultaneous lines of wonderful lyrics and melody, superb production and arrangement. This song deserves multiple listenings before coming to a conclusion about it. "Wonderful" is wonderful in its uplifting , stimulating and catchy soul spirit. Great chorus radiates Annie's passion and energy and pulls you deeper into the album. This is just the right moment to encounter "Bitter Pill"; a beautiful mix of soul , pop and dance tunes. "Loneliness" is another triumph in the album, with the best lyrics and an incredibly beautiful mixture of rock and pop sounds. "The Saddest Song I've Got" is classically Annie. Intimate , touching , perfectly performed , hypnotic. Could be a tear jerker. "Erased" is a strong , splendid , eclectic song containing sounds ranging from soul to rock, simple and beautiful synthesizer melodies , powerful drums and superb vocal arrangements. "Twisted" is a warm, charming, catchy pop piece which perfectly lets Annie use her voice in a relatively broad range. Perfect vocal arrangement at the ending. The album is closed with "Oh God", maybe the most intimate, sincere and emotive song of the album. Its sad but beautiful lyrics and Annie's fabulous interpretation (you get the impression that she was crying while singing the song) make you sit and rest for a while before doing anything else.
Human voice to me , is the most beautiful musical istrument. It's technically not capable of operating in an interval of frequencies as large as a piano maybe ; and it's also monophonic, but it's the most natural instrument. It also has the ability to let you express your emotions in the most pure and direct way if you know how to handle it.
Annie Lennox definetely knows how to handle her voice. Her singing style not only fulfills standard technical requirements for her to be considered a qualified singer, but it also enables her to interpret, deform and reform the lyrics she sings. She has a great capacity to put second, third meanings, subtexts between the lines of the lyrics she sings just by using her voice. Actually, I must admit that, I'm in love with this woman's voice. It's the best female voice I know in mainstream music. And in "Bare", she once again showes us that she has no limits in using her voice and producing great pop music.
"Bare" is a brilliant pop album with very high IQ and EQ. A must for every popular music listener.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2003
This is Annie Lennox in her finest hour. Having just recently gone through the painful breakup of my own marriage, when I listen to this album it actually gives me peace. Her lyrics, the music, and her brilliant voice give me strength and hope. The first time I heard it in its entirety, I felt changed. The song "Hurting Time" is haunting, yet it has such a pretty melody, which she sings to perfection. You can really "feel" what Annie is singing about - which is rare in most popular music. She certainly conveys her sadness and anger, but what is most refreshing is that it's not about blaming "him" - it's compassionate and honest. She is truly an amazing artist. I've been a fan for many years, and between her "Diva" album and "Bare," I am getting the healing and inspiration that I need to move on. Some friends have questioned why I would listen to such a sad album...I tell them it's much more than sad - that it's cathartic for me to hear her and that she is courageous for creating something so beautiful out of her loss. It's actually quite uplifting. This CD contains the most meaningful music I've heard in a long time...
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2003
One of the best things about Annie Lennox is that her integrity as an artist is unquestioned. She doesn't make records for the money -- she's got enough of that. She hardly makes records at all. When she does deign to return to the studio, it's because she WANTS to, because the muse is calling.
"Bare" is Annie's brilliant return to the music scene. The album features many different musical styles: rock, pop, soul, alternative. But the consistent theme running throughout is that Lennox has been through hell and it's a terrible place, but she's working through it and getting on with life.
The entire record is very strong, with each song leading perfectly into the next. Of course, there are standout tracks. "Loneliness" is my personal favorite. It's as close to a rock anthem as Annie is likely to get, and it's extremely well done, with poignant lyrics, soaring vocals, and insanely catchy hooks.
Another gem is "The Saddest Song I've Got." And, yes, it is very sad. But Lennox's rich, deeply textured alto carries the melody so beautifully, you almost forget you're about to cry.
Speaking of that voice, it sounds even stronger and certainly more mature than ever. Lennox doesn't rely on vocal acrobatics to make a point or prove she's a great singer. Instead she simply sings with passion and conviction, letting her naturally gorgeous voice stand on its own.
"Bare" is a wonderful addition to the Annie Lennox catalogue. Thank you, Annie, for hanging in there. Thanks for sharing your talent and your hopeful spirit with us.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2003
There isn't enough that I can be able to scratch up how much I absolutely love Lennox's newest masterpiece "Bare". Unlike a lot of my favorite women singers in recent years, Annie Lennox hasn't lost a single bit of her touch and with her first CD in eight years; She shows no signs of stopping and in fact shows more of just getting edgier with time. This CD was absolutely worth the wait and has NO filler at all. Even with only 49 minutes of playing time, "Bare" has oceans more talent, intelligence, and depth than almost all of those 70+ minute commercial rap albums on the market! She blends soul, pop, and even some jazz music in a style that no one, in my opinion, can even come close to doing. I can't necessarily say that it's her strongest CD but it sure is able to compete against "Medusa" and "Diva", both incredible albums in their own right. This album is said to be deeply personal for Annie but it is absolutely a great example of how to turn personal turmoil into uplifting pop perfection.
"A Thousand Beautiful Things" is a lovely, lush, warm, and absolutely shimmering acoustic jazz track. Annie Lennox sounds absolutely lovely on this track but then again, she sounds so on just about all of the songs she has done on all three albums. This song even seems to have a bit of a Celtic touch to it as well. "Pavement Cracks" is a marvelous song and one of the strongest tracks on this incredible CD. It starts off with a somewhat haunting ambience at the beginning, almost reminding me of the elegance of "Why" from over 11 years backs but instead morphs into an awesome and danceable track with awesome driving rhythm and intelligent lyrics that bring up memories of those aggressive but superb melodies of what Lennox did with the Eurythmics during the 1980s. "The Hurting Time" is an odd but hypnotizing and soulful ballad that perfectly suits the icy warmth of Annie's voice and musical style. "Honestly" is another great mid-tempo and soulful song with superb arrangements. Not much more to say about that one except that it's great, just like every song on this album. "Wonderful" is one of the center points on this CD. At first it seems like it's going to be a somewhat downbeat ballad especially with the odd guitars and light beat at the beginning but then later it blasts into an intense, but highly uplifting Gospel-tinged song with incredibly dynamic chorus and is erupting with passion. "Wonderful" is an absolutely `wonderful' song. The title for the song is absolutely perfect. "Bitter Pill" is the perkiest track on the album. The song is another angst-ridden song about digesting the bitterness of infidelity and unfaithfulness. "Loneliness" is one of the best songs on this CD. It starts with somewhat 80s sounding guitars but then the song eventually blasts into a passionate rocker with Annie doing incredible dynamics. "Loneliness" brings back memories of the haunting melodies of "Why" from Annie's debut album from over a decade ago. The odd 80s sounding keyboards during the last few seconds merge into the dark undertones of the next track entitled "The Saddest Song I've Got". This one is a very sad but wonderfully textured ballad with haunting ambience, a very sad undertone and a sense of grief from personal turmoil. Those who loved "The Gift" will absolutely dig this track. I might sound odd by saying this but it kind of reminds me a bit of "I Grieve" from Peter Gabriel's "UP" album. However, the album picks back up into the more upbeat territory with the upbeat "Erased" which is a wondrous blend of soul, pop, dance, and even some jazz all meshed up into a classy and unforgettable track. The thing that makes this song so appealing is it's expression of anger and spite and telling of a lover being erased from one's memory. Considering that I went through a relatively bitter breakup with someone recently, this song is my current theme while writing this review. Just listen to those lyrics: Whoa! "Twisted" is classic Annie and could fit well on either one of her previous two albums. "Twisted" is a highly upbeat and uplifting blend of dance, sophisticated pop, and soul laced with awesome keyboards and incredible vocals. This is excellent driving music! Everything wraps up with the downbeat and melancholy "Oh God (Prayer)" which has Lennox singing up close and haunting keyboards and a relatively sad undertone to it. This is a wonderful closer to this incredible CD.
You know, there is just not enough I can be able to say about how great that "Bare" really is. As I might have said earlier, it is difficult to rank this CD against her other two but standing alone, "Bare" is now on the verge of becoming the shining star for the landscape of music in 2003. Even with the ups and downs that pop has gone through over the years, there's no doubt that Annie Lennox can update her sound but lose none of the artistic integrity that she has carried throughout her career, both with Eurythmics and solo. Annie has never sounded better than on here. Just saying that is enough to say that there is still plenty of excellent and creative music that is being churned out even in the `low' period that we're going through. This album might have been just a good album that would've been a step down from "Diva" and "Medusa" but instead, Annie created a masterpiece! Please buy this album! It's so wonderful.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2004
Annie Lennox, though eternally cool, has never been "hip" or "in fashion". As a solo artist, and also with Eurythmics, her appeal has always been outside of the mainstream. Not one to follow trends or shamelessly exploit herself (take note Madonna), Annie makes timeless musical and visual statements that work as well today as they did 20 years ago - and they will work as well 20 years from now, too. Segue to her latest solo project, the stunning "Bare", which re-affirms Annie's place on the world's musical stage, and also cements her status as one of the premier singer-songwriters of the last 20 years. Who would have thought in 1983 that 20 years later, the gorgeous woman with the orange buzz cut would be considered one of rock music's most talented and respected artists (and an Oscar winner to boot)? If you're the type of person who appreciates intelligent, thoughtful, articulate music with a message (and with a brilliant pop sensibility), then "Bare" is the album for you. Also check out Annie's "Diva" and Eurythmics' "Be Yourself Tonight".
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I think Annie Lennox is an amazing artist. I always admire an artist who is strong enough to forge their own path - and isn't dependant on others for their material. That she has an incredible and versatile vocal style doesn't hurt either.
'Bare' is a very good album. It's not as good as 'Diva', but it is better than 'Medusa'. Both albums were (and are) extremely good. 'Diva' has some incredible material on it. And while I enjoy when a good artist does a cover song, I've never been a fan of entire cover albums. I will give Lennox this, 'Medusa' contained well chosen, non-standard covers than in another time/place, I could conceive her actually writing.
On the new disk, "A Thousand Beautiful Things" might just well be her best written, arranged and recorded song - solo or w/Dave Stewart - she has ever done, and that is definitely saying something. "Pavement Cracks" and "Wonderful" are pretty impressive too. Both songs were incredible live (I was lucky enough to travel to Detroit just to see her).
All the songs are good here (though "The Hurting Time" does nothing for me), but two weeks into listening, it's not continually playing like any of her earlier solo works or the Eurythmics disks. That aside, it still ranks up there in the disks released so far this year - and deserves a listen and/or purchase.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2004
After 8 years with no new material this 50 year old woman give us the best album of her career.
Bare is a beautiful emotional ride through her feelings.
The musical style has quite changed from medusa showing a more mature sound.
All the songs are really intense. "a thousand beautiful things" and "the hurting time" stand out.
All the others are simply beautiful.
It's a shame that no commercial singles have been released.
Just buy the album, it's really beautiful!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2005
Given how much I LOVED Diva as well as Medusa, not to mention her incredible body of work with the Eurythmics, I was skeptical that Annie could once again completely blow me away. Was I ever wrong. I can say, with a fair degree of confidence, that this is my favorite effort from her to date.
Beautiful, haunting, and more than a little touched by sadness and wistful longing, this album will pull you in, and under. I know that Annie has been having a difficult time the last few years or so, but on the upside for us as the listener, it has been translated into this gorgeous offering.
Annie's voice is as beautiful as ever, highlighted to perfection on the tracks "A Thousand Beautiful Things", "Wonderful", and "The Saddest Song I Got". As much as I loved every song on this CD, I still must admit that my two favorite were the two more uptempo tracks, "Bitter Pill" and "Erased". Mind you that uptempo does not translate here into happy, upbeat lyrics, but rather a mesmerizing blend of disgust, disappointment, and somewhat bitter resignment. Oddly, so enjoyable to listen to. You want to get behind Annie and march with her back to the top of whatever mountaintop that she got kicked off of.
I have had this CD since it came out a year to two ago (?) and have listened to it steadily ever since. I eagerly await her next solo album, whenever that may be, though the soon to be released essential Eurythmics collection should tide me over in the meantime. Do yourself, and your music collection a favor - run, don't walk, to purchase this CD if you haven't already.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2004
While depression has become somewhat of a catch-phrase these days, some of us live with it and understand it. I watched Annie Lennox on her ABC special in 2003, and she spoke of how music helped her through her severe depression or something to that effect. I can feel the "bare" emotions in her remarkable vocals and musical stylings. Thank you, Ms. Lennox for The tracks "Twisted", "Pavement Cracks", and the powerful "Loneliness." This CD is first rate and a wonderful follow-up to "Diva." Ms. Lennox is simply a musical prodigy.