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High Dive

3.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 22, 2003
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Editorial Reviews


Maria McKee’s first studio album in seven years is also her first release on her own label. To go from producing an inescapable global hit like "Show Me Heaven" to funding one’s own recordings in a little over a decade may not seem the ideal career trajectory, but the truth is that McKee was always far more indie rocker than pop diva. "Show Me Heaven" certainly paid a few bills, but it also served to overshadow her sterling earlier work with Lone Justice. High Dive, then, is McKee as she would prefer to be seen--far closer to Kirsty MacColl than Whitney Houston, a wry, literate singer-songwriter blessed with a voice that's both technically pristine and approachably human. Though High Dive is marred in spots by over-fussy production, the best moments here, such as the wise and witty title track and the unabashedly Lone Justice-like "In Your Constellation," justify McKee’s investment in herself. Andrew Mueller

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. To The Open Spaces
  2. Life Is Sweet
  3. After Life
  4. Be My Joy
  5. High Dive
  6. My Friend Foe
  7. In Your Constellation
  8. Love Doesn't Love
  9. We Pair Off
  10. No Gala
  11. Non Religious Building
  12. Something Similar
  13. From Our T.V. Teens to the Tomb
  14. Worry Birds

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 22, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Viewfinder Records
  • ASIN: B000089HD8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,478 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I've loved Maria McKee since I first heard her band, Lone Justice, back in the '80s. She has remained my favorite singer despite the fact that her albums are few and far between. Her voice is luminous, soaring, soulful and so expressive it just rips your heart out. You can hear the intelligence, humor and passion in her delivery, whether she's singing her own brand of "alt-country" or belting out songs that seem better suited to Broadway than to the pop charts.

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.

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By A Customer on March 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I agree with much in the reviews below, which I found informative enough to put off buying this CD from a dearly loved singer for many months. In the end, I couldn't resist a chance to hear Maria sing new material, and much of what I regret after a half dozen listenings has been said by others. If you liked Lone Justice and/or the first two solo CD's more than Life is Sweet, you may well be disappointed by the music here. This may be a difficult piece of art much more sophisticated than her earlier work that I simply haven't studied carefully enough to appreciate. I think that's a little pretentious for pop music, though. The songs and arrangements do sound like Broadway show tunes, and there are probably a lot of Maria McKee fans besides me who are not especially fond of show tunes. I disagree with a reviewer who suggested that one of the songs sounds a lot like Lone Justice. The re-recorded version of Life is Sweet makes a good song that is otherwise out of print available, but the original version was recorded better, in my opinion. In general, the lyrics lean toward the morbid, bitter, and bleak, when they're coherent and comprehensible. I have no clue what some of these songs are even about and the arrangements, though often creative and original, can also come across as simply strange mixes of genres. Maria lowers her voice enough to sound like a David Bowie imitator on "Non Religious Building," and I think it's no coincidence that several of the reviews below mention Bowie, who also had a fondness for theatrical music. I agree with a reviewer below that the title track sounds autobiographical, but if that's the case, the verse about how she could have made it to the top if she'd been more ruthless is embarrassing.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I love Maria McKee. I loved Lone Justice. But I am finding 'High Dive' to be a mixed bag as an overall disk. Some stuff is great. Some stuff is just ok. Some stuff, I plain skip over. McKee and her co-producer Akin seemed to have thrown a bunch of stuff to the wall to see what sticks.
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?
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