3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Welcome Back Ms. Summer!,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Crayons (Audio CD)
I have to admit I was intrigued when I found out Donna was coming out with a new album. I've always liked her as a recording artist. She was the backbone of Disco, which was my era - I enjoyed her music through all her major albums for Casablanca [75-80]. It was always Donna, Giorgio Moroder, Pete Belotte and Harold Faltermeyer that were coming up with the freshest grooves and beats, and crossing genres as well.
I loved her work during the Geffen years, where she seemed to pull away from the usual formula of her recordings. Ditto for her two albums for Atlantic; "Another Place And Time" and "Mistaken Identity". She was never scared to explore new musical horizons whether the albums were considered successes or not, which I admired. Anyone can do what their label tells them and put out the same crap and shite over and over again.
But you could always tell that Donna followed the beat of her own drummer. I think in her heart, she wanted every album to be a success, but Donna was never one to rest on her laurels and wandered around so many different styles - each new album was refreshing. [Case in point - 1981's "I'm A Rainbow" that Geffen Records refused to release, 1982's Quincy Jones produced "Donna Summer" and 1987's All Systems Go produced by Harold Faltermeyer]. I remember hearing "This Time I Know It's For Real" for the first time and thinking Wow, Donna's back in the house!
This time around, she was signed by Burgandy - which is a Sony imprint and who also recently signed Ms. Chaka after she left Warner Bros., and did an album for Princes NPG records [as well as a couple of indies].
The sound and tone of the album leans very heavy on bass. A lot of the highs are mixed down and not very bright. Another thing is the drums tracks are mixed way down. You FEEL the beat rather than hear the beat. As a fan of big, chunky beefy drums, this was a bit awkward at first for me.
But then there are THE SONGS:
The songs are EXCELLENT! The first single 'Stamp Your Feet' sounds like typical radio play - it's fresh and should do well for her. The other song that caught my attention was 'I'm A Fire' - which will burn down the clubs. I listened to this cut while driving on the freeway and thought, once again, - wow - Donna's in the house again! I can see this song becoming a very strong club staple.
The songs that resonated the most for me outside of I'm A Fire are "Sand On My Feet", "Driving Down Brazil", "Slide Over Backwards" where she sings in this incredibly raw 'backwoods, old New Orleans' type of voice which sounds just great. Also loved "Science Of Love". "Be Myself Again" is a very touching and sensitively performed song. You can tell by listening it is very heartfelt. "The Queen Is Back" is a funny tune and she's having fun poking fun at herself which was great and provided me with a chuckle while driving and listening to it. I recall listening to one of the songs while driving and she asks 'do you feel it'? And I replied, out loud - yes Ma'am, I most certainly do.
Not only did she have a hand in composing almost all of the tunes on the album, but her voice is in GREAT shape. I've read a few reviews here that mentioned her vocals are processed a bit too much. Donna doesn't need vocal processing at all, but it is a fact of the times - on most ALL commerical records - the vocals use extensive processing. It is a production style that is very popular. Some need it - some don't - but most use it anyway. The processing, be that with digital reverb, digital delay, and/or vocoders - I can say that her vocals are processed a LOT LESS than other artist's commercial recordings of late, and she doesn't use any pitch perfectors either - she doesn't need em folks.
She, in a word, SOUNDS GREAT. I would have to say that the production style of the record took me a bit of time to get used to, but people need to know that this is a GREAT album and to give it a shot! Definitely worth the wait.
It's great to have you back Ms. Summer - I hope Crayons opens up many avenues of options for you to explore on your next record. Please don't make us wait this long for the next one though...