Recycle It!: Jody Watley's 'Makeover'

Friday, October 30, 2009

Still a thrill indeed. Now how in Audio Hell did I manage to skip over Jody Watley's re-release of her 2006 covers project, The Makeover? In actuality, there are so many artists that are kept on my radar, that its often hard to shuffle through them all, especially those who have been favorites for so long. Jody Watley has consistently been one of my favorite people on a professional and a personal level. Professionally, she's a dynamo music star as she managed to break out of her 70's Shalamar stardom into a classy, trendy and innovative solo career, where risks and musical exploration were taken that have given her fans some classic sounds to enjoy. And personally, she led me to my big hoop earring fetish, and for that, I'm forever grateful.

Now in 2009, Miss Watley continues to put a smile on my face with her musical output as with the re-release of The Makeover those who missed out the first time are given a second chance.

Cover albums are sometimes tricky as they can be sometimes tedious, boring and rather over bloated. This is kind of the same feeling I had with Seal's recent Soul effort, which was watered down in an attempt to make the tracks "fancy", a tactic that plagues a lot of cover albums. Plus the album didn't let Seal be at his best ability. This is not the case for Jody, as The Makeover gives fresh face to the tracks presented without altering to the point of mutilating the core of the song. Here Jody recreates classics by Madonna, Chic, Bob Marley, Diana Ross and even her own massive hit, "Looking For A New Love" and places them in the trip-hop/neo-soul crevasse she has crafted for herself on previous ambitious recordings such as 2001's Midnight Lounge and 2003's The Saturday Night Experience.

All in all, the package as a whole is Jody doing what she does best, and that is always being the class-act. This is one re-release that I will gladly whip out my purple glitter pen and co-sign.

So what exactly was made over Jody style? The three you need to hear now.

Chic - I Want Your Love
Now the disco classic is transformed into a luscious and simmering club trance. Actually it being toned down works for this song, as I often found the original to be a little stark.
Bob Marley - Waiting In Vain
The Reggae classic takes on a light jazzy shuffle, and brushes along like a silky lullaby.
Madonna - Borderline
This was quite a pleasant surprise as I consider "Borderline" to be one of my top 10 Madonna tracks ever. Here "Borderline" is slowed down further and takes on a more soulful quality. I'm tempted to say that it's even better than Madonna's original, but like the album's title suggests, this is "Borderline" with a fresh face of makeup on, that is revamped for the 21st century.

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