kd lang: Watershed (Nonesuch)

 |   |  1 min read

kd lang: Coming Home
kd lang: Watershed (Nonesuch)

I read a curious review of this recently in which the writer said if you came to this expecting kd to return to her country roots you'd be very disapppointed.

Why anyone would expect that of lang is beyond me: she has barely touched country music (the odd guest spot excepted) since the late 80s and has been consistently the practitioner of a very sophisticated kind of adult pop, which she shows no signs of abandoning for this album, her first of originals since 2000's Invincible Summer.

As with Norah Jones' recent albums which have irritated critics for not being what they wanted from the artist, so this one by lang is bound to annoy for its consistent mood of lavish, string-augmented torch-pop on which lang deploys that remarkable voice with so little obvious effort you can forget the talent she has.

Not for her the dramatic self-aggradising flourish, the bending of notes or some ululation to draw attention to itself.

Nope, lang simply pens slightly translucent lyrics, sings them with pitch perfect warm precision, surrounds them with strings and a small band and then lets the suggested emotions speak to you for themselves.

No barriers are hurdled here, no grand statements are made, nothing to shake you up.

If you come here for that then you've read lang's recent career very wrong.

What is here however is the effortless glide through a gentle melody, a contented ennui, a poetic distance from the pleasures and pains of love and love lost, a mood piece which works best after dusk.

lang is a long way from the ground-breaking artist she once was, yet in her own way she has created her own territory which has references in 50s MOR pop and torch songs (with banjo and pedal steel!) and yet which she seems to be the sole inhabitant.

And that's kinda cool.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Little Axe: If You Want Loyalty Buy a Dog (On U/Southbound)

Little Axe: If You Want Loyalty Buy a Dog (On U/Southbound)

Guitarist Skip McDonald (aka Little Axe) and On-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood team up once again for an album which exists at the interface of old blues and contemporary dub, and with just... > Read more

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE PRODUCER QUESTIONNAIRE: Paddy Free of Pitch Black

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE PRODUCER QUESTIONNAIRE: Paddy Free of Pitch Black

Pitch Black – Paddy Free and Mike Hodgson – have been in the vanguard of New Zealand electronica, dub and dance for more decades than even they care to recall. They brought hi-tech... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JEFFREY PAPAROA HOLMAN on David Bowie and mining identity

GUEST WRITER JEFFREY PAPAROA HOLMAN on David Bowie and mining identity

In the tidal wave of emotion that has swept the world since David Bowie’s death was announced, I have found my myself in a curious position: saluting a great artist who I never really got... > Read more