Top positive review
everyone should know the story behind this record--Sharleen has been pretty open about it
on March 9, 2015
By now, everyone should know the story behind this record--Sharleen has been pretty open about it. Why it is not a "Texas" record.
That said, this is "old school" production and arrangement that brings one back to an earlier time. It reminded me of Dusty Springfield.
Spiteri even adopts a softer retro look for this--big hair and makeup--than any of her Texas iterations.
First and most important is the songwriting. Spiteri and McElhone shift gears here writing a different style of music than their Texas work. And there is some truly great song writing on this record. (again, this is the kind of music that was played in order on a phonograph record). It is hard to describe this as a "CD." Regardless of format, these songs should be played in order. There is some storytelling as the songs unfold. Not just a bunch of tracks to be played randomly (or worse "shuffled" into your iPod mix).
The song writing is superb. Spiteri and McElhone are phenomenal songwriters. Melody covers the range of emotions a thoughtful and sensitive person goes through from first learning a lover has jilted (now that's a term from the past and it fits perfectly here) them through the agonizing--"where did it go wrong?"--to reaching a resolve to move on and finally a wistful look back.
The only song I didn't care for is "I'm going to haunt you." (the revenge phase of this emotional roller coaster). The reason is, it is a little too derivative of Nancy Sinatra and her "boots." (a fitting homage but it breaks the spell). The rest is pure magic. "Don't keep me waiting" is possibly the greatest song about the butterflies in the stomach feelings of a new love burgeoning--ever! On this emotional roller coaster it is that moment when you are just approaching the top--waiting to be hurled over and launched on a new ride. The chorus is one of the most glorious and catchy uplifting moments in any song ever written (yes it's that good). If you aren't transported to the emotional dance floor--"I can't get you out of my head"--well it is hard to get this catchy song out of one's head. It is pure post modern 60's "girl group" musical euphoria.
The record ends with new found love-a rebirth--but enters that wistful period of looking back and assessing the present and future with a bit of sadness and a jaundiced eye. The whole Record/CD is a wonderful song cycle.
Spiteri is a rarity these days. She is a real singer who puts her massive vocal talents in service of the song. She never resorts to vocal gymnastics or affectation. She sings beautifully--clearly enunciating the lyrics---even with the massive production on some of these songs, one can always "hear" Sharleen's often brilliant lyrics! A trip to You Tube is in order where one can find some "acoustic" live versions of these songs--especially "All the times I cried", just Sharleen and two accompanists playing guitars.
Given the song cycle nature of this effort, I would suggest turning the lights down, getting a glass of wine and sitting in front of a stereo (remember those!) and listening to the music in its entirety. Of course, each of these songs stands on its own--I can listen to "Don't keep me waiting" and "Stop" and "All the times…" over and over! (I often do). That's the beauty of this effort--it works on so many levels…..