Let it Rain
Variety and consistency – a combination that would seem ill paired, except to Tracy Chapman, who achieves both in Let it Rain, her sixth studio album since 1988.
The 12-song compilation is yet another example of Chapman’s capacity to retain a serene mood throughout an album, without putting listeners to sleep or sacrificing a range of lyrical themes, instrumental backing and/or style.
Chapman’s characteristically gentle vibrato makes the most major contribution to the mellow, almost lullaby feel of each song.
Each track gains individuality through a mixture of instruments, the majority of which are string, especially in a brief instrumental called “Over in Love.”
Love is, however, not the only theme Chapman tackles. She also includes political premise in songs like “Hard Wired,” as well as upbeat gospel in “Say Hallelujah.”
Several tracks also deal with aspects of relationships, such as heartbreak, regret and devotion.
The combination of consistently compassionate vocals, musical strength and lyrics with integrity make this a well-rounded album on several levels.
Fans of “Fast Car” and “Give Me One Reason” will probably enjoy Chapman’s new material equally as much, if not more.
– Nadia Stadnycki
His Name Is Alive
If you like to groove to elevator music or shake your ass to the Weather Channel jingle, then His Name Is Alive’s 10th album will be right up your supermarket aisle.
Producer Warn Defever’s boring effort has all of the makings of forgettable background noise.
The album’s title track sounds like he placed vocalist Lovetta Pippen in the middle of a local Acme and had her sing along to whatever neutered melody was playing over the intercom.
The song’s trite lyrics could have easily been replaced with the names of items on a shopping list, and the switch could have probably gone unnoticed.
The funky jazz/blues marriage sound featured on this album is hardly new.
Defever manages to take a sound that should be emotionally wrenching and instead causes the listener to take a nap.
I know his name and it is crap.