This album has been available to listeners for 8 years, and I'm surprised to be the first one to review it on amazon!
FRESH ARTIST: A few weeks ago, I had never heard of Barbie Anaka. One evening, I was browsing through Sade reviews on amazon and a recommendation for Barbie Anaka's In Love With a Memory popped up on the screen. Intrigued by the title (and the elegant cover photo of the singer looking like she was daydreaming about a sweet remembrance of love) I listened to samples and was instantly hooked. I purchased the album and it's been enjoying a prime spot in my CD player.
GENRE: This album defies categorization. It's a very effective fusion of styles from contemporary jazz to light pop with some cool R&B undertones. Barbie's voice is silky, smoky, and sultry! A delight in each and every song on this polished, but not over-produced album.
SONGS: The album opens with a gentle, prayerful ode to the world on "Humanity." After that, the album is heavily centered on the desires and musings of an unabashedly romantic (but not naive) woman of complexity. For example, Barbie rejects broken promises in "Words" and fantasizes about being with "Someone Else," who is not self-absorbed before finding "A Way Back Home" from a painful relationship. The songs are cohesive, but still provide plenty of variety and excitement!
LYRICS/AUDIENCE: With her well-written lyrics, Barbie comes across as a mature woman with many layers. In fact, I doubt most people under the age of 25 would understand or appreciate this album. A more experienced 30 or 40 something (or someone of an even riper age!) will feel her messages resound.
Back to the SONGS! "Where Is Love" is a beautiful tune that probes our depths, asking us if we are afraid of love or will leave it once it's found. The title track, "In Love With a Memory" is a steamy groove about meeting someone once in a candlelit setting and being haunted wondering what might have been. The singer yearns for another chance and "One More Time" with a lover who is clearly no longer in season, something so many of us have experienced.
TINY GRIPE: The only song that seems out of place on this album is a duet called "Made It Through the Bad Times." While pleasant enough and definitely well-sung, it doesn't blend with the otherwise consistent theme of longing for and/or losing love. Still a 5-star album, though!
VERDICT: Barbie Anaka has a talent that has been unexplored in the mainstream music market. This CD is a gem of a find for any music lover's library. Also take a listen to her other album "Ballads Through the Night" that showcases Barbie's delicious voice on time-tested standards performed by more famous, but not more talented, crooners.