12 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Joan Armatrading is a British singer-songwriter who has received excellent reviews but never the commercial reception that her music deserves. On 2010’s This Charming Life, Armatrading plays all the instruments herself (with the exception of drums, handled by Miles Bould). Curiously, it’s her hardest rocking album in years, featuring intense guitar solos and aggressive tempos. The title track begins with sweetness before expanding into a full “band” attack. “Love Love Love” features Armatrading fast-talking her way past the romantic land mines with backing vocals that support (and mock?). “Two Tears” puts up a tough front, a tight, driving backbeat and warmly, distorted guitars to mend a broken heart. The jigsaw blues of “Heading Back to New York City” struts with a defiance and toughness that would make Mick Jagger blush. On her 20th album, Joan Armatrading proves she hasn’t lost an ounce of fire. Nearly thirty years later, she sounds completely engaged with her music. The urgency remains.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Joan Armatrading is a British singer-songwriter who has received excellent reviews but never the commercial reception that her music deserves. On 2010’s This Charming Life, Armatrading plays all the instruments herself (with the exception of drums, handled by Miles Bould). Curiously, it’s her hardest rocking album in years, featuring intense guitar solos and aggressive tempos. The title track begins with sweetness before expanding into a full “band” attack. “Love Love Love” features Armatrading fast-talking her way past the romantic land mines with backing vocals that support (and mock?). “Two Tears” puts up a tough front, a tight, driving backbeat and warmly, distorted guitars to mend a broken heart. The jigsaw blues of “Heading Back to New York City” struts with a defiance and toughness that would make Mick Jagger blush. On her 20th album, Joan Armatrading proves she hasn’t lost an ounce of fire. Nearly thirty years later, she sounds completely engaged with her music. The urgency remains.

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