Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Victoria Wilson-James - The Rapture (2013)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 14, 2016

Looks like the legendary soul songstress Anita Baker isn't the only one who wants to get you caught up in the rapture of love! Victoria Wilson-James: from recommended singer to potential new addiction, now that I've just enjoyed my joyride of a second stint with her on her most recently-released comeback album, "The Rapture". This request comes courtesy of a long-time Victoria fan (and just a fellow dance/house music lover altogether, which is someone I'm always happy to connect with), and my request now is that those of you reading this post will tune in to the heavenly jams to entertain your ears! The joyful sounds kick off with Victoria's remake of the POINTER SISTERS' classic, "Could I Be Dreamin'?". Well, at least I believe it to be a POINTER SISTERS original; I've surely heard their collective sisterly voices performing it many times, whether through television commercials (the first time, most likely) or on the proper album release where it was recorded decades ago. And just as the disco original, this reinvented New Millennium version too has a lofty, heavenly feel about it. Disco groovy, electronically glitzy and souliciously sweet&mdashl;all in on package! More heavenliness (think I just made up another word?) to be heard on the follow-up, "I'll Never Give Up Hope". It's almost like she's speaking the words of self-inspiration as she sings over the thumping downtempo beat and the dreamy ambiance, words that also could've been applied to a slower beat and made into a moving ballad for a different receptive effect. The dance rhythm works so well, however, and the music really becomes a heavenly affair with the soulful backing voices joining in at the midway beat break. After that spiritually-moving piece is something fun to jam to: "Deep In Vogue". She's all about personality, flair and style on this one, as evidenced by the humorous and witty back-and-forth conversation with the guy who pops in for a spell. Instant love for "Love's Embrace (The Rapture)"; it's all in the funky electronic dance rhythm! As with "I'll Never Give Up Hope", it also could've benefited as being made into an alternate ballad mix, given the fluid, graceful flow to Victoria's output. But as it is, it works as the perfect chill-out trance jam with that signature soothing deep voice/trancey beat combination heard so often in this particular sub-genre—a song to truly embrace indeed! "The Best": an appropriate title for a song that makes excellent use of a very basic electronic dub-step beat and the repeated catchy words 'the best, stand the test, I confess, you're the best, not like all the rest, yes!', because it serves as a reminder that music really is the best when it keeps things simple and right to the point. But the best was yet to come for me; following the stylish offering, "High Society" and the ambient trance tune. "Rainbows", I'd discovered my #1 favorite on this album with "Increase The Pressure" and its ultra-glitzy, glittery electronic accompaniment and dreamy background ambiance, my senses getting an electrifying holt when her smoky vocals combine with the spectacular full-out heavy bass beat in the beat in main chorus! A few nuances heightened my enjoyment further: the 'slow play' on the funky digitized backing vocals partway delivering the song's title, the bizarre Far Eastern-inspired chords in the instrumental break, and then Victoria's sassy announcing of 'ok—let me hear that back' before the main beat drops back in. "So Last Season" 'is so, so good! 'Pull yourself together; stop acting like a freak'—these are the bold words chanted over and over that make this one the dynamite jam that it is! And she's definitely the dynamite diva on the spoken word track, "Red Lipstick". Lots of hot stuff here&mash;from the instantly appealing intensity of the deep, electronic rhythm to all of her humorously scatterbrained, gossipy gab about fashion, glamorous image, and the beefs she feels she needs to settle with the various iconic wonder women in Hollywood—past and present. "Never Stop" is one you just might never want to stop listening to once the disco-groovy beat takes hold of you while you just might find yourself uttering the exact words to this album;s concluding cut when the final 'whys' have been chanted and the final beat has played. Yes, the music may be over at this point, but there's always that replay button begging to be pressed to begin the addictive dance music cycle all over again.....

1. Could I Be Dreamin'?
2. I'll Never Give Up Hope
3. Deep In Vogue (7" Radio Mix)
4. Love's Embrace (The Rapture)
5. The Best
6. High Society (Studio 54 Mix)
7. Rainbow
8. Increase The Pressure (12'" Album Mix)
9. So Last Season
10. Red Lipstick (Baby Jane Hudson Mix)
11. Never Stop (7" Radio Mix)
12. Say It Ain't So

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