Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Although double albums are again de rigueur, the mercurial Shocked pushes the envelope on her first release in four years. Fully free from major-label duties, Shocked picks up where the quasi-gospel vibe of the limited-... more »
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Although double albums are again de rigueur, the mercurial Shocked pushes the envelope on her first release in four years. Fully free from major-label duties, Shocked picks up where the quasi-gospel vibe of the limited-edition Good News left off (even reprising a few tracks) and delivers the most expressive singing of her career. She fuses deep Southern funk, Jamaican dub, ambient country-folk, and socially and sexually conscious soul (à la What's Going On) with poignantly confessional, faith-based lyrics. "The more I forgive, the more I forget/Let it go, let it go," she consoles herself. The sprawling instrumental companion disc, Dub Natural, has moments of artistic surprise (especially the supernova blues rock of "Draughts of Dublin"), though it rarely finds the purpose and spiritual poise of this set's main attraction--Shocked's ardent singing and gleaming, inspired songwriting. --Roy Kasten
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Surprising. Of course.
Chuck Wetzel | Minneapolis | 04/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own four other Michelle Shocked cds (Captain Swing, Arkansas Traveller, Short Sharp Shocked, The Texas Camp Fire Tapes) and this new one is already working its way up the list to being a favorite. Maybe that's because it's so new but I have a feeling that this is a cd that will last.It starts out with an accapella vocal called "Joy" that gets repeated later on in the record as a full song. That creates a theme because over the two different records, certain songs start to show up again either as instrumentals or as little bits that remind you of one of the earlier songs. It's really intriguing the way it weaves into itself. And joy is definitely one of the themes of this record, and now that I think about it, also of Michelle Shocked's songs before this album. The sound of this cd is surprising but it's Michelle Shocked, so I almost want to say "of course." You learn to expect the unexpected with Michelle and she's done it again. I think this cd is a tour de force, containing so many strong songs and so many potent styles and arrangements. And its sort of a wild rollercoaster too, because just when it gets sublimely calm and mellow, it suddenly roars up and rocks incredibly hard. Lyrically, Michelle is always superb. But this is a 2 cd set with one whole cd devoted to instrumentals, and I can see that some people might be really surprised by that. Surprise! It's Michelle Shocked, "Of course." And I've listened to these two records now with just the two of them in the cd player on shuffle, and it's fascinating how they reflect back and forth on one another. The instrumentals are beautiful, reflective pieces primarily, although a couple of them are rocking or reggae or ska, and are not represented on the other cd. But already I'm developing favorite songs, and when the instrumental versions come along, I'm hearing the lyrics in my mind, which I think may have been one of Michelle's ideas for why she did it this way. It's really trancendental.The theme of the songs is joy and how you have to hold on to it even if the world wants to take it away. There is a really rough edged rock blues song where Michelle talks about a woman who dances on the casket of her own son, and then right after it comes a truly beautiful but ghostly song of mourning, with one of the most haunting melodies I have ever heard. I don't want to make it sound like this record is dark because it is almost the opposite. Usually if someone told me that they were listening to a cd where the theme is joy, I would naturally think that it was shallow or kid-pop. This cd is more like a meditation on joy, or more like the experience of joy, leaping up and falling down, and then getting up again, just like in life.I can't recommend this cd enough. It's adventurous as Michelle Shocked's cds always are, and it takes you to some very special places. She sings so beautifully it's difficult to describe. I love her voice for its expressiveness on every album but this time around she's at her warmest. Sometimes she's even screaming and other times she's practically whispering. And other times, her voice goes away and the instrumental side of things takes over, and you can really feel the power of her absence. I'm sure that she knew that when she decided to put both of these cds out together, because it makes for a truly unique listening experience."
Shocked gets religion
Toomuchnoise | 02/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a very short personal list of musicians whose CDs I always buy. She was ABOUT to fall off that list until she came out with Deep/Dub Natural. In my opinion, about Shocked's only flaw is a tendency to preach and as she matured, she made that mistake a few times.Not in this album! Like her early music, the lyrics are poignant yet nuanced. But, she has broken out of the folk mode without giving it up completely. Clearly she has had some encounter with God and she uses that as lyrical focus. But don't think this is some boring Christian album. She NEVER falls into cliche even when she re-interprets a song like Amazing Grace. That song, for instance, breaks your heart and renews at the same time.Great stuff. And don't neglect Dub Natural. I like it maybe even better than Deep Natural. I know that Shocked wasn't the first to do a re-mix second disk, but not many have done it better. It really works -- "Dub" has the feel of "Deep" but is not a needless duplication. I play Dub Natural more than "Deep".I also hope this CD will open up her audience beyond the folk singer-songwriter crowd. She deserves it. Unfortunately, I doubt this release will get a lot of promotion. Good reason to buy it, though - play if for friends and they will think you have the good taste to not follow the masses."
Michelle shocked delivers!
Toomuchnoise | 04/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It has been quite a while since Michelle Shocked has put out a record so I was very anxious to hear this one. I wasn't disappointed!!This is an innovative, diverse record that perfectly reflects Michelle's genre-crossing sensibilities. From rockin' bluesy numbers like "What Can I Say" and "Little Billie" to gorgeous acoustic numbers like "Moanin' Dove" to songs like "That's So Amazing" and "Go In Peace" that evoke Van Morrison without really trying to (if that makes any sense), this is an amazing record. The production mixes dub sensibilities with steel guitar on some tracks, on others it is more straight ahead rockin'. It's hard to describe really, but very easy to listen to . The second disc is definitley a more "chill" experience, but a great companion to the first disc. This is one of the most consistently interesting and affecting records I have heard this year. Amazing!"