Spin Me Right Round: Revisting 'Born & Raised'

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Joy Denalane's 2006 album, Born & Raised, just kind of plopped down into my lap back when it was released. Coming at me from nowhere, but hitting me from all sides. It swept me up into a more comforting place at the time, and it became one of those constant plays over the course of a couple of months. Each song captured seamlessly honest to goodness modern soul. Germany native, Denalane has a quiet force about her, and it shows in her vocals as she coats each and every song on here with sweetness yet there is a touch of grit sprinkled on top. Her voice echos the ghosts of classic soul as she dips into a Southern blues mindset for "Be Real For Me" or haunts on the moody "Heaven and Hell". Joy's writing is just as intricate as her vocals as her tribute piece to fellow soul queen, Mary J. Blige, "Seven Year Itch" cleverly weaves in classic MJB song titles into lyrics. The most compelling song resides in the chilling, "Stranger In This Land" which is heavy on the heart and mind. The song details the timeline of racial barriers from the time of slavery to the present, told through the eyes of different characters. It's quite an original piece and one that shouldn't be overlooked. The punchy, "Let Go" remains the album's focal point, as the hand-clapping gospel of "Start Over" uplifts. Born & Raised interweaves current R&B/Hip-Hop styles with the familiar tones 70's soul, and while it's nothing out of the ordinary of now, the delivery is fresh and Joy's buttery rich vocals drench the project in excellence. Bold statement? Well, Joy Denalane is a bold and honest sister, and she's someone who should be somewhere in your chest of musical nuggets.

Rating: 9.4/10

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this album. Her work with the MDR Orchestra was also fantastic (check out her and Tweet cover 'Its A Mans Mans Mans World - fantastic).

    BTW the MDR project was Joy, Tweet Dwele and Bilal covering soul classics backed by a full orchestra (for those who didn't know/havn't heard it).

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