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on December 11, 2006
The eagerly awaited follow-up album to the enigmatic singer's phenomenally successful "Careless Love" may not be as beguiling, but it has charms of its own - not least the upbeat, laughter-filled opener, "I'm All Right" (an original composition), Serge Gainsbourg's "La Javanaise" and Leonard Cohen's sensual "Blue Alert".
There is a stronger country vibe and, if anything, the lackadaisical Billie Holiday drawl is even more in evidence than in the first CD.
And if ever a song suited the persona of the singer, it's "Everybody's Talkin".
When beauty is understated...
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on November 10, 2006
Madeleine Peyroux comes across as an artist older than her years.

Even though she is only in her early 30's, her music and voice sound like they belong to the previous generation.

The fact that Peyroux's voice absolutely reeked of her Billie Holiday influences somewhat tarnished that breakthrough album "Careless Love".

For her new album, "Half The Perfect World", she showcases the emotional core of songs by other singers and songwriters she's admired, and also displays her talents as a writer on four songs she co-wrote, keeping a distinctly romantic edge.

The CD is slightly less heavy on the Holiday-isms but more intriguing in the song selection.

For Peyroux tackles the love songs she loves, treating them to timelessly jazzy readings.

Given the makeover are Johnny Mercer's "The Summer Wind", Leonard Cohen's "Blue Alert", Joni Mitchell's "River", Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'", Tom Waits's "(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night", Serge Gainsburg's "La Javanaise" and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile".

The album conjures in the mind imagery of smoky bars, music lifted from the screen of an American feelgood movie. Drums are always light brushes, barely touching the skins, guitars light and fruity, clearly a double bass rather than an electric.

No cutting edges are approached, no taboos challenged, but it is a pleasant amble through familiar territory.
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on October 28, 2006
Madeleine Peyroux's occasionally acidic voice has drawn comparisons to Billie Holiday, which, while not entirely amiss, tended to overlook a singular facet of Holiday's style: When Holiday sounded like she was keeping something from you, it was because it hurt too much to be expressed. Peyroux's floating, Georgian-inflected alto, though similarly enigmatic (a "Mona Lisa voice," wrote New York Times cabaret critic Stephen Holden), seems to barely conceal excessive happiness.

Take Half the Perfect World's opening track, "I'm All Right". She's dating a lout, who "makes her cry", and who "threw a few of my things around", but it's all right, because she's been lonely before.

She sings it with resignation, but where Holiday, for all her strength, would've made you feel pity, Peyroux impresses you with her resilience. Consider it the postfeminist style of female jazz vocalism.

With its chunk-chunk guitar, brushed drums and B3 organ, the stage is set for Peyroux to lay down a soft-focus album--and she does. The title track, by Leonard Cohen, is turned into a soft samba, and Joni Mitchell's "River" is sung with k.d. lang, who doesn't steal the spotlight.

In a world clogged with mediocre jazz chanteuses--with the dreaded Norah Jones at the front of the line--Peyroux's soul and melting voice stand out, way out, from the pack. She remains a happy enigma.
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on December 10, 2006
I remain devoted to her previous album, Careless Love. This new effort is okay, but so slavishly faithful to that Peyrouvian sound that at the start of each of the first two songs I literally had to go back and check to be sure I wasn't listening to the first album. It varies somewhat after that, although you sure couldn't accuse it of taking any chances.
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on November 13, 2006
I loved '' careless love`` and saw Madeleine live here in Rio de Janeiro in a reasonably good show.I am quite disappointed with this album however because I had great expectations.Let's face it folks, however smoky and billiesque her voice is she is never going to have the power and the range of the original.She needs to be really close miked and well recorded to get that voice to sound right.This is obvious from seeing her live.

So what were those marketing executives thinking by promoting a cd full of soft and slow ballad covers that are obviously going to turn a huge spotlight on her vocal delivery? Those songs need an Ella,a Sarah Vaughn,or even a Shirley Horn -to name some giants- to have a chance of pulling it off with their huge range, timing and phrasing.

To compound the problem , the recording engineers/producers did not do a great job on her voice or the rest of the band for that matter.Everything is much too soft and distant (unlike careless love).If you want an atmospheric but still powerful sound you must produce something like the last Shirley Horn cds.

Last but not least the rest of the good band are not allowed to play anything remotely interesting but are relegated to very minimalist backing chores.

I think there is a misconception with the record excecs that M.P. has the qualities to make her a modern pop-jazz diva ala Diana Krall.She has to find her real voice and the correct material to match.Good luck.
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on September 29, 2006
Ever since I discovered Careless Love, I've been waiting for Madeleine's next album with a lot excitement. Well, here it is. And what a disappointment. I've been listening to it over and over and can't seem to find the vitality she had in her last album. The music is dull and the lyrics are cheesy, but if your just looking for some good background music for a romantic diner, it'll do just fine.
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VINE VOICEon September 12, 2006
Madeleine Peyroux has a beautiful voice. I think she is a talented songwriter and musician too. I love every track on this album. I also think that her band members sound great on their instruments too. I love the first track I'm All Right. It is a great song that celebrates being single. The Summer Wind and La Javanaise are two tracks that celebrate being in love. A Little Bit is an upbeat engaging song about how people fall in love by chance and hope. The title track is about a person changes socially and emotionally in different stages in life. The piano playing is so good here. The violin playing on La Javanaise gives this track such a romantic quality. Blue Alert is an excellent track. The trumpet playing by Till Bronner is very smooth. He compliments Madeleine's subtle vocals and guitar playing well. Looking For The Heart of Saturday Night and Everybody's Talkin are two songs that celebrate freedom and spending time with someone special. Once In A While is a song about a relationship that didn't work out, and the feelings a person attaches to it. River is a pretty duet with KD Lang. This is a bitter sweet song about losing someone special. Smile is just a sweet song about how a smile makes a person feel better. This CD is filled with beautiful music.
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on September 22, 2006
There are those who'll dismiss Madeleine Peyroux as just another Billie Holliday wannabe - and those are the people who just don't 'get' what a wonderful artist Madeleine Peyroux really is. Madeleine is unique and cannot be pigeon-holed into one genre, or another. She is what she is: one of the best song interpreters we have today. Her vocals carry you to a serene state of mind. Stand out tracks include "Everybody's Talkin'" "Once In a While" and "Half the Perfect World," but the real stunner here is the introspective duet by Madeleine and K.D.Lang on Joni Mitchell's "River."
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on September 21, 2006
Miss Peyroux reminds me a lot of Billie Holiday. She has an exceptional and beautiful singing voice. Her rendition of standards in this album is great. She should just record a real jazz album full of the great american songbook.

I am a big fan of her but I am still waiting for album of just standards.
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on September 28, 2006
After a stunning first couple of albums, this folksy, low-key CD is a letdown. Where is that haunting voice that sounded like Billie Holliday reincarnated?

Come back to jazz, Madeline!
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