k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang | Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)

Much as I like lang’s voice in and of itself, I like it even better when she’s singing a great song, and the material on Sing It Loud doesn’t always live up to her vocal chops.

 

 

I’m up for hearing k.d. lang sing absolutely anything, including the proverbial phone book. She has one of the great voices of our time and I’ve happily followed her career from country to contemporary pop to Tony Bennett-style crooning with a few side journeys along the way. Now she’s come almost full circle with Sing it Loud, an eclectic, alt-country album with the Siss Boom Bang (Joe Pisapia, Daniel Clarke, Fred Eltringham, Josh Grange, and Lex Price). In case you’re keeping track, this is the first time lang has recorded with her own band since the Reclines way back when.

Much as I like lang’s voice in and of itself, I like it even better when she’s singing a great song, and the material on Sing it Loud doesn’t always live up to her vocal chops. I know that every song can’t be at the level of Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah" or Roy Orbison’s "Crying" (her renditions of those two really are performances for the ages), but the only truly memorable track on Sing it Loud is "Heaven," a song written by David Byrne and Jerry Harrison and most closely associated with The Talking Heads. Lang and Pisapia wrote most of the other songs on this album and they’re all perfectly fine, but not much more than that.

k.d. lang has always been a better singer than songwriter and many of the songs on this album recall cuts from previous albums. "I Confess" belongs to her Orbison period, "Sing it Loud" is reminiscent of her chanteuse years, and "Hollywood Kids" reaches all the way back to her country roots. Her voice is also showing some strain in the upper register, which is now breathy where it once was full. Of course no one is exempt from the aging process, and she still sounds better than 99 percent of the singers out there. However, while Sing it Loud is a welcome album for fans, the combination of less-than-perfect vocals and less-than-memorable material keeps it from being a must-buy for anyone else. B | Sarah Boslaugh

RIYL: Blessed, Hard Bargain, Shadowland

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply