""Midnight Lounge" is Jody Watley's first US release since 1995's "Affection".. and it's another step into a more electronic soul niche, which began with her last album, the Japanese exclusive "Saturday Night Experience" (1999).Originally released in Japan at the end of 2001, "Midnight Lounge" is a smooth, inviting collection of laid-back chill-out grooves... Described as the "ultimate groove-lounge disc", it clearly lives up to it's billing.. Despite being a solid and even collection, it also manages to be somewhat diverse.. With some trip-hop (Clouds), lite-disco (Photographs, Love To Love), Jazz (Saturday Night Experience) and Drum n' Bass influences (More) in the production, it's still laid back, yet engaging (it's no snooze-fest)... Jody's understated yet, silky smooth voice beings a unique, soulful warmth to the whole atmosphere.. Despite not being prone to the usual diva histrionics, she's managed to become a very strong, unique vocalist over the years.. Produced mostly by Jody Watley and Rodney Lee.. Dave Warrin handles production on "Don't Give Up" (a Peter Gabriel cover) and Masters At Work on "I Love To Love" (on which Roy Ayers also contributes).. This American release also has a remix of "Whenever" that's not found on the Japanese version.."Midnight Lounge" is a welcome return from a very exceptional artist.."
Watley turns down the blinds for a night of chillout
Jason Roberts | Rochester, NY United States | 04/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What's an artist to do when formulated records begin topping the charts and established acts are released from their contracts? Go deep and get independent, and that's just what this girl has done. Jody Watley has weathered the good and the bad. Working independently and fusing deep house with late-night chill, her new LP "Midnight Lounge" finds Watley sipping vodka & seven in the corner, pulsing to a sophisticated rhythm. "Midnight Lounge" grooves to the after-hours vibe, with the opening title track setting the tone. The jazz-infused cadence beckons the listener to begin the weekend, even if press play is on a Tuesday. The mantra of the song is captured in Watley's lyrics: "all I wanna do is just dance / all I wanna do is just dance..." Recruiting deep house legend Dave Warrin for "Whenever" and "Photographs," Watley knows a thing or two about balancing the weight between the microphone; a savvy vocalist is as good as her producer. The tracks shine and sound just as good on the floor as they do in the lounge. Resisting circuit-style yearnings, Watley's approach is swanky. In fact, producers of the album have a résumé any dance fan can appreciate (given work with Janet Jackson, Ultra Naté, Kim English, Funky Green Dogs). Originally released as a Japanese import, "Saturday Night Experience" plugs into ambient house with a jazz piano and a thump in tow. "I Love to Love," a throwback to the '70s, captures everything that was good about disco.
Sensual and hypnotic, the trip-hop jams of "Skin Deep" and "More" balance out the dance fare on the album. The most revealing track on the collection wasn't penned by Watley. "Don't Give Up," a Peter Gabriel remake, allows Watley to find out how fleeting success can be. The lush production and hushed urgency conjures up the same feeling as the signature melancholy of Everything But the Girl. The manifesto of the track resonates. "Don't give up / You're not beaten yet / Don't give up / 'cause somewhere there's a place where we belong."
Sequencing aside, "Midnight Lounge" is a stellar release. Reflective and relevant, Watley has successfully found the deeper rhythm of nightlife. Released on the indie label Avitone, the album, spared from being run through a corporate filter, glimmers with just the right amount of energy for a mellow but groovable evening. Let's hope the release finds the audience it deserves; the careless whisper in Watley's voice resounds with that familiar feeling of survival. "Don't give up / I know you can make it.""
Lounge with Jody ..... You'll LOVE IT!!!!!
DANI-L | Nyc, NY | 05/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had mix feelings about buying this CD. So without hearing any of the music I decided to take a chance, and i'm GLAD I DID. Each song is such a breath of fresh air from todays repetitive, jaded, and non-creative "Radio" music. I still can't get enough of this album and it's been more than a year, it's AWSOME from beginning to end. The title track Midnight Lounge sets the tone for the rest of album: smooth, mellow, jazzy and hard groove beats. Through out the album Jody plays around with the different sounds of dance music from Chill Out, House, Funk, Drum & Bass, to everything in between. Her low sexy voice becomes an extra special bonus on each track. Jody also does something most artists never do; She lets the music be the star. On most songs the music plays without vocals, allowing the audience to relish very instrument, very sound, very beat. This has to be one of the best dance albums I heard since Madonna's 1998 " Ray of Light ". I just hear Janet Jackson will be experimenting with dance music for her next album: " HEY JANET, TAKE NOTES FROM JODY'S MIDNIGHT LOUNGE "."
Just fantastic... Thanks Jody!
DANI-L | 12/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Too bad the 'tired' radio stations are missing out on this one!"
Me | Southern California | 04/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, I am a big fan of Ms Watley's music. Her voice is soothing and not as annoying and over-produced as Celine's and Maria's. Secondly, her music is always fun and groovy (beat-wise).
This is the first album in years, since Kristine W, that I've bought and been fully satisfied. This is a beautifully produced album with such quality. It is even a plus that Ms Watley writes most of the songs on this album.
"Midnight Lounge," the album's opening track, is so cool and loungey. It's like watching hot liquid bubbles in lava lamp forming their own unexpectedly beautiful shapes and forms. It's very relaxing and soothing without the show-off over-vocalization.
"Photographs" is a stark reminder of Le Freak's "Good Time." The other tracks are very restropective and wise.
Ms Watley's lyrics showcase her maturity and experiences that can be only traced through growth, both emotionally and musically.
Finally, I am so SICK and TIRED of the music scene out there. I am so worn of the same faces: Christina, Britney, J-Lo, etc....
Truly, this is a great album -- refreshing and cool.