Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Album of the Week: Joan Armatrading - This Charming Life

Full disclosure: I am a huge Joan Armatrading fan. My usual practice for selecting an record to feature for "album of the week" is not to pick a favorite and gush away. (A blogging pet peeve.) But instead to dig through Amazon's or Lala's new releases lists and see what interests me that may not be getting the attention from the music blogosphere it deserves. (Full disclosure #2: I almost chose the much blogged about Dum Dum Girls record this week.) I take advantage of any free streaming, and cobble together a quick review. Sure, it's not perfect; some albums require multiple listens. And there are plenty of bloggers who write breathtakingly eloquent reviews you want to print and frame on your wall. I am not one of those bloggers. I can give you a resounding thumbs up or thumbs down, though.

Big thumbs up. But Joan Armatrading rarely disappoints. She produced and plays all the instruments, save for the drums, on This Charming Life, her 20th album. It follows the same pattern as her earlier records, falling somewhere between folk and pop. Of the record's style, she says in an interview for The Huffington Post:

"It's rock-pop, but it's my take on this kind of music, and I like lots of different sorts of music. I'm not constantly playing blues, rock, or anything, but I'm very conscious of music. I think I have a way of knowing what the music should be to identify as that genre, like when you hear Into The Blues, it's got a very blues sound to it--the tone of the guitars, the solos, the phrases, the space. When you listen to This Charming Life and you hear "Heading Back To New York City" or "Best Dress On," it's definitely rock. Because I like all these different things, they come to me."

Related Links:
Joan Armatrading: Saint Joan (The Guardian)
"Random Selection" (Don't Dance Her Down Boys)

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