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Punishing Kiss
Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, N.S. Engel
Punishing Kiss
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Despite her roles in mainstream musicals such as Cats and Chicago, Ute Lemper has never been a typical Broadway baby. Her long association with the works of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, as well as her one-woman shows bas...  more »

      
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Despite her roles in mainstream musicals such as Cats and Chicago, Ute Lemper has never been a typical Broadway baby. Her long association with the works of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, as well as her one-woman shows based on the repertoires of Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, has always marked her as a maverick in a world overpopulated by bland belters and cute ingénues. Lemper's distinctive voice isn't an instrument for easy listening. At full tilt, it's dangerous and edgy. In subdued mode, it's dark, ironic, and despairing. The cruelty that runs through many of her interpretations is taken on the chin. Lemper deals in defiance rather than submission. With just one, edgily updated Weill song ("Tango Ballad") and a host of contributions from Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Philip Glass, and the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, Punishing Kiss is a modern, bleak look at love in the 21st century. At times the tone is murderous, even apocalyptic ("The Case Continues"). The duet "Split," sung with Hannon, is a grimly humorous riot of punches and counterpunches in a disintegrating relationship. There's fleeting, poignant beauty too, in tracks like Waits's "Purple Avenue." Essential listening for anyone who likes their torch songs blood-stained, not just dampened by a few tears. --Piers Ford

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CD Reviews

Ms. Lemper understands the drama in these songs.
John A. Gregorio | Castalian Springs, TN | 04/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When Holly Cole did an cd of Tom Waits songs, the songs were smooth and beautifully sung. But, the life seemed to be drained from them. This is not the case in this work by Ms. Lemper. These songs demand to be sung not like a "lounge song" but in the style of musical theater. For these songs are stories that must be acted out. A great performance from a superb artist."
Pop goes The Weimar
david heimark | los angeles | 04/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thank god this is a cd and not vinyl for I surely would have worn out an lp by now. Late on the first night i obtained the new cd, I gave it a cursory pop into the cd player. I skimmed over the selections, replayed a couple that caught my attention and went to bed glad to have this new release.Now, less than two weeks since that night, I've played the cd dozens of times and can say I am nowhere near being tired of listening to this collection of music.Intriguing, Frightening, Melancholic, Lazy, Gorgeous, Beautiful, Mysterious, Witty, Light, Gay, Dramatic, Tormented, Demented, Heady, Intelligent, Ironic, Obvious. The terms and superlatives are too vast to convey the wide range of feeling this cd can and does elicit from this listener.To use an overwrought expression, I feel this yet another Ute Lemper tour de force.Do not look for descriptions of the "kind" of songs on this release from me. As Louis Armstrong said: "There's two kinds of music, good music and bad music"."Punishing Kiss" is good music of the highest caliber."
Love is a punishment
Ignacio Rodriguez | 06/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"That's what Marguerite Yourcenar said: We are punished for not being able to remain alone. This wonderful album by Ute Lemper seems to be supported by this thought. This songs are filled with all the rage, anger, and bitterness a bad lover can bring to your life. Even though this sounds really harsh, the songs are really well crafted. The brilliant arrangements by Joby Talbot and the felt participation of Neill Hannon - as the male co-star of a couple of songs - makes of this album an ourstanding piece of art. This recording represents for Lemper an expansion in her theatrical way to perform music, stepping into the fields of pop music. If you've heard her before you need to listening the dark "Street of Berlin", a lovers fight called "Split", the murder of a love in "The Cases continues", and the last thoughts of a drowning woman in "Little water song"."