Thursday, May 11, 2017

Jude-Sarah (2003)


Shifting gears again as I move from the world of high-energy trance to the calm and serene that is easy-listening folk rock. This is where you'll hear the delightful voice of the Los Angeles, California-based singer/songwriter Michael Jude Christodal, better known by his preferred stage name and middle name of simply Jude. For me, today was my first crack at listening to this guy in the wake of a recent request for some of his solo albums was brought to my attention. I selected "Sarah" to be my first Jude music companion, with no idea that it would turn out to be the loveliest thirty-three minutes of music that I've treated myself to so far this week! It was apparent right off the bat with the opening track, "Madonna", that he's a wonderful and versatile singer as well as a thoughtful songwriter who has a clever way with words. Part Mother Theresa, a lady divine and a valentine—those are some of the colorful lyrics that makes this song shine. The backing orchestral overtures (so dreamy and dazzling on the ears) and the acoustic guitar are the sweet icing coating the cake. That acoustic guitar, in fact, is the primary instrumental accompaniment the rest of the way through, serving as the primary backdrop to the bouncy number, "Perfect Plank" (I like the imagery and the analogy he draws up here, describing the lady as being that plank extended from the ship to walk on), plus "Your Love Is Everything" (I like the hopeful yet almost breathless manner in which he delivers 'if you need somebody, how about me?') and "Isn't It Over?", which is once again one of those songs that is warming song musically but has sad undertones lying beneath. As for \that versatile voice of his, it is shown off brilliantly on both "You And Me"—high and lofty and totally catching me by surprise!—and "If You Need", which grows and grows until it blossoms into an epic acoustic ambient affair with his echoed 'I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel' seeming to drift on and on for an eternity. "Black Superman": this one piqued immediate curiosity because of the title.....and I remained curious even after listening, the lasting words of 'no black Superman is gonna come and save me' not totally clear; a second listen—or perhaps even a third—seems to be in order for me here. Then there's one in particular that I praise because it's just original and unique in every aspect: "Crescent Heights". First, there's the rapid delivery of the beginning lyrics that I like (highlighted by his fun analogy of the French toast slice being nicer than the whole loaf of bread), followed by the song's sudden switch to the acoustic rock n' roll arrangement that turns the song into a funky, dancey musical affair:

1. Madonna
2. Perfect Plank
3. You And Me
4. Crescent Heights
5. Your Love Is Everything
6. If You Need
7. Living Together
8. Black Superman
9. Isn't It Over?

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