Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wendy Matthews-Emigré (1990)


There have been so many wonderful artists who have emerged from The Land Down Under, and I'm happy to have gotten acquainted with more than just a few them in my music-listening lifetime. The delightful folk/alternative pop singer Wendy Matthews is one of them, and it's with great pleasure today that I share her marvelous solo debut! The first thing you'll notice about "Emigré" is the abstract, intriguing titles chosen for these eleven songs, then Wendy's elegant, soulful voice delivering the even more abstract lyrics while a diverse range of instrumentals and production arrangements please the easy-listening music lover's ear. The opening track called "Token Angels" is the mood-setter—a haunting tune built around a cooled ambiance and the gloomy lyrics that speak about angels falling from the sky and a world that's crashing down. You immediately get treated to her high rising voice (one of the aspects of her singing talents that I really like) when the chorus plays. "As We Speak" stirs up those fond feel-good memories of the 80's with its lively mainstream pop beat which, in my first time listening, was basically all I needed to enjoy this song; the double-layered voice effect (first featured in the opening chorus) and the terrific saxophone beak give it extra bonus points. "Won't Let Me Be (Georgia's Song)": this one's a rather funky pop/rock affair, and it's the second place where you get to take in her impressively soaring, wailing voice (when she delivers the title lyrcs in the chorus). "Taking My Heart Around" appeals right in the opening movement when she confesses the irony that love is so cold, but wants a love that burns so bright, then has a way of sticking with you in the closing movements when the backup singers join in and keep repeating the title lyrics during the extended closing instrumental. "Square Moon": I really like this title and gets the mind thinking. Usually, the 'blue mood' signifies an odd event taking place, but in Wendy's world, it's the geometric quadrilateral that she uses to describe the strange thing going on between the guy and herself. The best part about this song: it's a slow and sensually jazzy piano piece. Ahhh—just my type of music! One of the more colorful selections offered up on this album is "Woman's Gotta Have It". I like how this song skips and swings along, with that 'double voice' chirping 'gotta make her feel it' and ' what you're trying to say girl? '. This song is a real lesson for all the men out there, as her words instruct that women need a solid foundation and need to feel like they're truly appreciated. "Goin' Back To My Roots" is 6+ minutes of good ole down-to-earth folk where Wendy is all attitude and is determined to return to the life that she comes from. A second helping of sweet jazz springs up on "State Of Mind". Well, you get the jazz in combination with a lively pop/rock rhythm, with Wendy telling us that the key to happiness is just where your head is—something that we can all relate to. Then a second helping of haunt sweep in on "Doomsday Lullaby". I like the contrasting irony of the title—a lullaby usually being innocent and comforting while a doomsday is marked by darkness and strife—and the gloomy lyrics of each story clip (which require a very close listen for complete understanding) and the sunny ambiance of the music totally showcase that irony perfectly. "Long Way From Home": a stilled, ambient acoustic piece that serves as an excellent place to relax and take in her elegant vocals. But the song that thrills me the most is also the concluding track: "Let's Kiss (Like Angels Do)". Now THIS is how you end an album with a loud bang! An energetic celebration of love erupts on this lively feel-gooder of a jam that ignites and sparks the senses! A song that, in my own words, boldly states, ' let's show off to the world how much we're in love, baby!' and ' let's kiss like we really mean it! ' could not be produced nor performed in any other way! Guaranteed, it'll become your new favorite to add to your pop music playlist!

1. Token Angels
2. As We Speak
3. Won't Let Me Be (Georgia's Song)
4. Taking My Heart Around
5. Square Moon
6. Woman's Gotta Have It
7. State Of Mind
8. Doomsday Lullaby
9. Goin' Back To My Roots
10. Long Way From Home
11. Let's Kiss (Like Angels Do)

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