Friday, January 16, 2009

More Cathedrals, Fewer Cowboys: Second Thoughts on Joan Osborne

Ever since I suggested that I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from purchasing the latest Joan Osborne album I have been swamped with emails from anxious readers wondering whether or not I did, what I thought, etc. I have been meaning to write about it since I did, of course, get it (the next day) and listened to it considerably. The fact that I generally thought it a pretty mediocre album has probably been why I have put it off. I guess I can’t love everything—although I try.

Here is the deal with Little Wild One. I bought it because the single I heard had all this wonderful New York imagery overlaid on a hymn-like-tune and I could just imagine an album of such landscapes generally in that style—with appropriate variation. And, in fact there are other songs that are in that vein and are equally as good. Unfortunately they are interwoven in with just as many songs that are okay, but nothing special with the occasional song that makes me reach immediately for the skip button. For instance, I wasn’t really ready for the western motif to be dropped on me in the middle of the album with Joan singing yippee-aye-eh, yippee-aye-oh (about her long lost cowboy lover). Ack.

No, the album I was hoping for would have sounded like the three songs I am going to share (including “Cathedrals” which I shared before)—although this should be considered the highlights rather than a sample in my mind. They all have a New York theme/setting and they all have gospel and blues running through them that really let Osborne show off that great alto voice.

And lastly, in the category of "my obsession with song order," I really love how the disc-replay-rollover (technical term) gives you “Hallelujah In The City” (the first song on the disc and a fine opener) after you have just heard “Bury Me Down On The Battery” as the last song on the disc—in fact, let me give you the songs in that order. And, of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, you could buy the album.

Bury Me Down On The Battery
Hallelujah In The City

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