From the Vault | Amel Larrieux: Morning

Feel the sunrise in Amel Larrieux’s Morning

[Originally posted on Amazon.com, July 3, 2006]

What a breath of fresh air this album is to me! I truly appreciate the simple elegance that this artist possesses. Larrieux’s sound is a mixture of Sade, Tracy Chapman, and Teedra Moses. Her vocals are sweet, contemplative, probing, and ethereal.

It’s no wonder she reminds me of Sade since she sung on Sweetback’s (Sade’s back-up band) self-titled debut. Larrieux had an ear for unusual harmonies and a penchant for quirky story-telling. A review I read described her songs as poetry put to music, and I totally agree. Today’s R&B chicks can’t hold a candle to her.

1. Trouble – Cute, sing-song verses and chorus. Check out her scatting at the very end of the song. R&B chicks take note.

2. Unanswered Question – Nice brooding contemplation of wondering if “I was your one that got away.”

3. “No One Else” – Sweet, simple lyrics, lilting piano.

4. Earn My Affections – Every single woman needs to memorize this song. Don’t give it up so easily, ladies. Make him “put [his] back into it.”

5. Weary – The most commercial sounding song on this album basically about having a love that makes you strong instead of weak.

6. Morning – This song had to grow on me, but I love the moodiness of it and the stripped down tone.

7. Gills & Tails – Absolutely my favorite song on this CD. It just has the most melodic tone with beautiful and poetic imagery: “I look up at longing at the surface/Hypnotized by the way the sunlight seems to ride each ripple/And they do a dance/Every ray becomes a beckoning hand/I miss the sweet taste of oxygen/I mistook this for the promised land

8. Magic – The music’s a little annoying, but Amel really shows her vocal skill on this song. She hits these crazy notes and creates these fun minor key harmonies. Plus her children chime in some backing vocals at the end. Cute.

9. Just Once – Insightful song about living every moment to the fullest regardless of other people’s opinons.

10. Mountain Of When – Perhaps the most haunting song on the CD. Amel reaches into her lower register to deliver the lyrics: “aim to be strong/fiddle with an arrow/the shot is too long/precision is not in my marrow/what’s wrong/with me contentedly singing my own song/but not heard the music/the writing’s on the wall” alluding to the current state of popular music while making peace with her individuality and musical style.

You really must check out this “progressive R&B” offering. I would even hesitate to categorize this album as R&B because it has so many elements of folk and eclectic musical stylings, that one R&B-esque cut here and there does not necessarily warrant the label. Just enjoy Morning as good music from the heart, mind, and soul.

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