1.) Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful: Paloma Faith
2.) Drops Of Jupiter: Train
3.) Love Is The Answer: Barbara Streisand
4.) 70’s Classics: Various
If I’m being honest I was fairly disappointed with Train’s 2nd album Drops Of Jupiter. It feels listless and uninspiring with patches of insipidiness (like track Something More). It is certainly nowhere near the quality of 2012 effort California 37.
What saves it from being a write-off are where it ‘drops’ (no pun intended) a couple of quality tracks such as the title Drops Of Jupiter and the brit-pop-esque Whipping Boy. What really saves it though is the sumptious, slow-paced end track Mississippi with those isolated chords that hang in the air like dawn mist on the banks of the great river itself.
Paloma Faith’s captivating vocals, upbeat jazz/pop style and raucas outgoing lyrics all help to create a wonderful artistic package and brilliant album on the poetically titled Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful.
I still have trouble believing her unbelievable transformation from common Essex girl accent when she talks to full-on vocal diva when she sings. She easily has the same vocal talent as the likes of Amy Winehouse and Duffy but with stronger songs. The ‘Truth’ is that her debut is ‘Something Beautifull’.
Barbara Streisand’s foray into old-school jazz produces a delicate, gentle and calming effect. Love Is The Answer is very slow though and requires above average levels of focus just to keep awake. That said, there is some gorgeous stuff here if you can stomach it. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, If You Go Away (Ne me quitte pas) being two that I rather enjoy plus it’s good to take in all the poetic lyrical meaphores such as “When Your Heart is on Fire, You must realise, Smoke Gets in your eyes” (from Smoke Gets In Your Eyes). Not quite enough to topple Train though but it was close.
Lastly we have here 70’s Classics. A compilation of iconic songs, some remixes and live versions. Uh oh someone didn’t have all the licensing rights that they wanted did they?
With re-recordings of Wild Horses, Mud’s Tiger Feet and Sweet’s Blockbuster which all sound uncannily like the originals.
But this selection is let down by some poor sound quality on Steve Harley’s live version Come Up and See Me (Make Me Smile), lacklustre live recordings elsewhere (Car Wash) and a curious mix of disco funk and glam rock wedged togther like some kind of bizarre mix of Italian and Chinese food, on the same plate.
Some of these songs might be iconic but actually start to get annoying after a few listens and only the most hardened Rose Royce fans will appreciate a live version in which the bass player is introduced. Elsewhere we have Abba rip-off Bacara singing what appears to be a one-line song Yes Sir I Can Boogie and the excruciating experience of Althia and Donna’s reggae monstrosity Uptown Top Ranking.