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on June 17, 2003
Lushly arranged, grittily soulful, confessional and therapeutic are apt descriptions of Annie Lennox's first album of entirely new material in eleven years.
Stephen Lipson is at the helm once again, and embedded within production that veers between Mary J. Blige-esque on the "Family Affair" inspired modern R & B of "Bitter Pill" to "The Saddest Song" which evokes present day Peter Gabriel on his first album in 10 years "Us" to the Marvin Gaye inspired opening of "Erased" to the Alicia Keys inspired "Wonderful" which subtlely intermeshes envelopingly airy and swooping electronica-lite before building to a rousing gospel arrangment a la "Falling" by Keys, Lipson once again proves he is a deft producer who is well matched for the versatile legend that is Annie Lennox.
Lipson, whose talents have graced "Whaler" by Sophie B. Hawkins who is yet another adventurous modern-day songstress, has even worked with Backstreet Boys which is a testimony to his versatility and breadth as a producer. Of Sophie B. Hawkins's "Whaler", Entertainment Weekly said "fervid emotionalism" is what Hawkins exudes, and Lipson made the tidal wave crest even more. Just as he was able to intimately connect with Hawkins to make the emotions more raw, he has done so with Lennox on "Bare".
"Diva" was synth-bliss and soulful but in contrast to that set, the production on "Bare" seems more sparse which is ultimately what renders many of Annie's confessions even more chilling.
In "The Saddest Song", the first lyric will remind studious Annie fans of the classic lyric in "Here Comes The Rain Again" which is,"I want to dive into your ocean/is it raining with you?" Both lines of both songs suggest Annie's desire to make some kind of connection or to relate. Ultimately, that is where the comparisons end.
Consider "The Saddest Song" Annie's detached, barren and desolate picture of an emotional landscape. It is as if Annie has come full-circle - having loved, lost and come to terms with it and it is all beautiful. In this picture, there is beauty in the infinite vastness of pain, whereas in "Here Comes The Rain" again the exultation of falling in love is the cornerstone.
There is beauty in resignation, reflection, and introspection - even if they are all symptomatic of pain. Such a revelation can only be made by someone of Annie's wisdom and experience, as her liner notes about the material on "Bare" suggests.
Sonically - and ultimately thematically -"The Saddest Song" has more in common with "The Gift" which would make sense as "The Gift" appears as a latter cut on one of her last studio album of new material. Lipson's sparse arrangment is as urgent is at is subtle on "The Saddest Song".
Smooth Jazz/NAC radio should warm up to "The Hurting Time" which is yet another top-notch offering that evokes the ambient British Outfit "Olive" and their lead singer Ruth-Ann's slightly less than impassioned but effective delivery. Its bleeping and sweeping synths also evoke William Orbit's work on Madonna's "Ray of Light" all the while stylistically the song also draws upon vintage Motown soul a la "The Miracles".
Clearly, Annie has delivered another masterpiece that draws on a variety of influences yet is distinctly Annie Lennox as only the inimitable Annie Lennox could. Call it a soul album, call it a pop album, but it is more than that. It is a "Bare Essential".
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on June 17, 2003
Lushly arranged, grittily soulful, confessional and therapeutic are apt descriptions of Annie Lennox's first album of entirely new material in eleven years.
Stephen Lipson is at the helm once again, and embedded within production that veers between Mary J. Blige-esque on the "Family Affair" inspired modern R & B of "Bitter Pill" to "The Saddest Song" which evokes present day Peter Gabriel on his first album in 10 years "Us" to the Marvin Gaye inspired opening of "Erased" to the Alicia Keys inspired "Wonderful" which subtlely intermeshes envelopingly airy and swooping electronica-lite before building to a rousing gospel arrangment a la "Falling" by Keys, Lipson once again proves he is a deft producer who is well matched for the versatile legend that is Annie Lennox.
Lipson, whose talents have graced "Whaler" by Sophie B. Hawkins who is yet another adventurous modern-day songstress, has even worked with Backstreet Boys which is a testimony to his versatility and breadth as a producer. Of Sophie B. Hawkins's "Whaler", Entertainment Weekly said "fervid emotionalism" is what Hawkins exudes, and Lipson made the tidal wave crest even more. Just as he was able to intimately connect with Hawkins to make the emotions more raw, he has done so with Lennox on "Bare".
"Diva" was synth-bliss and soulful but in contrast to that set, the production on "Bare" seems more sparse which is ultimately what renders many of Annie's confessions even more chilling.
In "The Saddest Song", the first lyric will remind studious Annie fans of the classic lyric in "Here Comes The Rain Again" which is,"I want to dive into your ocean/is it raining with you?" Both lines of both songs suggest Annie's desire to make some kind of connection or to relate. Ultimately, that is where the comparisons end.
Consider "The Saddest Song" Annie's detached, barren and desolate picture of an emotional landscape. It is as if Annie has come full-circle - having loved, lost and come to terms with it and it is all beautiful. In this picture, there is beauty in the infinite vastness of pain, whereas in "Here Comes The Rain" again the exultation of falling in love is the cornerstone.
There is beauty in resignation, reflection, and introspection - even if they are all symptomatic of pain. Such a revelation can only be made by someone of Annie's wisdom and experience, as her liner notes about the material on "Bare" suggests.
Sonically - and ultimately thematically -"The Saddest Song" has more in common with "The Gift" which would make sense as "The Gift" appears as a latter cut on one of her last studio album of new material. Lipson's sparse arrangment is as urgent is at is subtle on "The Saddest Song".
Smooth Jazz/NAC radio should warm up to "The Hurting Time" which is yet another top-notch offering that evokes the ambient British Outfit "Olive" and their lead singer Ruth-Ann's slightly less than impassioned but effective delivery. Its bleeping and sweeping synths also evoke William Orbit's work on Madonna's "Ray of Light" all the while stylistically the song also draws upon vintage Motown soul a la "The Miracles".
Clearly, Annie has delivered another masterpiece that draws on a variety of influences yet is distinctly Annie Lennox as only the inimitable Annie Lennox could. Call it a soul album, call it a pop album, but it is more than that. It is a "Bare Essential".
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on June 16, 2003
First of all, I love Annie Lennox, and have for 20 years. DIVA is one of my all-time favorite albums. So perhaps my hopes were impossibly high for the new one, my hopes abetted by the 11-year wait. BARE starts off with a bang -- three great songs that seemed to satisfy all my expectations and longings. But then the record begins to stumble. "Wonderful" and "Bitter Pill" sound good but the lyrics are banal, cliched. Things pick up a bit after that, but not enough to lift the album up to the high pitch where it began. And although many seem to like the final song, "Oh, God," I find it an embarrassment -- not for its off-key singing but for the self-pitying, self-indulgent nature of the lyrics. If only there had been something a bit light-hearted to send the record off, like the fabulous kicker on DIVA ("Keep Young & Beautiful"). The production throughout is sympathetic, and Annie has never sounded better -- and that's saying a lot. But for me, some of the songs are just too weak for me to be completely satisfied. Mostly, it's a failure of lyrics -- I wish she had perhaps collaborated with another writer on the words. And I know it isn't fair, but I can't help comparing this to DIVA, and this is where BARE really falls short. There is nothing remotely as astounding as that heart-stopping stunner that is "Why," nor is there anything as joyously infectious (even if it is a dark song) as "Walking On Broken Glass." There is much to like and admire about this album -- it stands heads above 99% of what passes for popular music these days; but I hold Annie to higher standards, and in that light, BARE doesn't quite measure up.
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on September 23, 2007
For anyone who has had their heart shattered, each word can be related to on this album. This is a very personal inside look at Lennox's broken heart -- which while cathartic for her, is a very generous revelation to the listener into her most personal life. This is what Lennox intended, one assumes, for the greatest of artists has an undeniable need to connect with their fellow man.

Lennox is growing and should not be criticized for not sounding like an earlier album. Who would want to be the same artist as they were a year ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago? That would mean no growth -- the creative death of an artist.
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on June 2, 2016
Knew I needed to order a CD, got a good deal too. "GREAT QUALITY COPY!" THANX!
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on November 17, 2007
This collection of lushly produced tracks is truly brilliant in every respect. It represents Annie's best writing and some of her best performances ever. Her voice is truly an instrument unique quality, combining operatic skill with soulful rendition. I cannot recommend this CD more thoroughly.
Adding to the musical brilliance of this accurately titled album is a deeply transparent lyrical self-exploration into vulnerability, sorrow, and strength of character.
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on November 16, 2014
The songs chosen for Bare showcase Ms. Lennox's powerhouse voice. I consider it a must have in my varied music collection and was distressed when I lost my copy, I had to replace it immediately.
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on March 30, 2014
This is my best ever CD of Annie. This was so appropriate in my life at a time I need to express how I felt about my lost relationship. I can listen to this all day long. Songs are so well written and performed.
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on October 25, 2015
You could tell Annie was in a sad mood. Her voice is still great, hope she's better now.
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on April 28, 2008
The more I listen to this CD, the more I love it. I just cant get enough of it! I get more out of each song each time I listen to it.

I especially love Honestly and Loneliness, but, love all the songs.

Thank you, Annie, you are amazing, thank you for sharing your incredible gift!

I hope you read these reviews from time to time so you can see how much people love your music!
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