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Since she hasn't had an album in 7 years, I had high expectations for this new CD. On first listen, I was unimpressed. "Overproduced" and "faltering" were the two words that came to mind. If Maria were any other singer, I would have filed this CD away and never listened to it again. But, since this is Maria, and since "High Dive" meant so much to her as an artist, I decided to listen and listen until I heard something that I liked. After all, you don't give up on a classic book just because it's a little difficult to read, and you don't walk away in confusion when faced with a challenging painting. I view Maria as one of the most talented creative forces of our time. She isn't mainstream. She doesn't want to be. Her work deserves more than just a token listen. If you still don't like it after several tries, that's fine, but I've learned not to write her off so easily. This album, which I really didn't like much at first, has become one of my favorites.
1. To the Open Spaces---catchy, great summer-driving-with-the-windows-down song. Her voice sounds a little like Madonna's here! I'm not crazy about the whistling or the way her voice veers off-key a little, but for the most part, she is at her best here.
2/3.Read more ›
The opening track "To the Open Spaces" is great except for that damned whistling. It seems to be tuneless whistling and in all the wrong places during the song. It's horribly distracting. But I also really like "Be My Joy" and "In Your Constellation". "We Pair Off" is pretty good, but it could have ended about 1 minute before it actually does. It begins to break apart and ends badly.
I love the title track - which continues the theme of "Life Is Sweet". The opening horns on the former track are almost reminiscent of a Burt Bacharach song. Horns play a bigger part in this album than I thought were needed and it's another thing I find distracting. On some songs though, they work ("Love Doesn't Love").
"Love Doesn't Love" has got a good R&B vibe that McKee can pull off - but you can actually hear Annie Lennox really pulling it off. And that gets to a good point: McKee is an incredible songwriter, sometimes better than she is as a recording artist.
'Life is Sweet' (the album, not the song on this disk - which I saw no reason to re-record, as it adds nothing to the superior original) ranks up there as one of my favorite albums - and I would have liked to see something similar from McKee. But you don't always get what you want.
This isn't a bad album by any means. It just didn't meet my expectations. And who is to fault for that?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Maria Mckee breaks my heart. Over and over and over again. And with "High Dive" she masterfully takes me places that consistently surprise and unsettle. Read morePublished on October 18, 2007 by Jeff Miller
The Little Diva's first album since 1996's brilliant Life Is Sweet is a tremendous, five-star effort. Read morePublished on February 23, 2006 by J. Gemmill
I absolutely LOVE this album -- favorite of the year. I see the user reviews are all over the board. I guess I am not surprised. Read morePublished on April 19, 2005 by Pete K
I will start by saying that there was a time when I thought anything this woman wrote or sang was gold. Read morePublished on December 17, 2003 by J. A. Sanborn
The Little Diver (fans know that this is Ms. McKee's nickname) makes a good try, but the cd is a bit cluttered. Read morePublished on November 20, 2003 by monkeytot
You know a songwriter is in trouble when they recycle their own songs. That is especially true when that song was on the previous release as "Life is Sweet" is here. Read morePublished on November 10, 2003 by C. Forsvall
"High Dive" is an uneven effort, one where Maria McKee the singer greatly outshines Maria McKee the songwriter. Read morePublished on September 30, 2003 by Lee Armstrong
Everybody seems to adore Maria for her Lone Justice years... Maybe here's the trouble: you're not necessarily what you were or seemed to be in the past. Read morePublished on July 13, 2003 by Hugues Orsetti