02 October 2007

NMT: 02 OCT 07 Annie Lennox --- Songs of Mass Destruction

BLOGTOBER brings the return of New Music Tuesdays. This week Annie Lennox has a brand new album out after a four year wait. Her last album Bare, was brilliant, this one, not so much, but it's still better than most, and easily recommendable.

Don't let the title fool you, this isn't an album long screed against the Bush and Blair administrations, rather the songs of mass destruction are more along the Raymond Carver type lies of mass destruction rather than anything political.

She's in fine voice here, and the production and soundscapes are such that this album sounds as if it could have easily been released 20 years ago, but for me that's not a negative. There's big dollops of later period Eurythmics to this work, and even though Dave Stewart isn't involved, Ms. Lennox managed to find a producer (Glenn Ballard) who provided some very Dave-like settings for her voice. It works well, I'm not complaining.

One song that does feel like a bit of a nostalgia fest is Sing. It's a collaboration of 23 female artists singing in support of providing AZT in South Africa to women so that their babies don't share their HIV status. Here's what her wiki has to say about the song,
For the album, Lennox has gathered together twenty-three female artists for a collaboration on the song "Sing". Anastacia, Isobel Campbell, Dido, CĂ©line Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, Beth Gibbons, Faith Hill, Angelique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, Gladys Knight, k.d. lang, Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, Pink, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Shingai Shoniwa, Joss Stone, Sugababes, KT Tunstall, and Martha Wainwright are all part of the line-up delivering this "powerful feminist anthem". The song is born out of Annie’s involvement with Nelson Mandela’s 46664 and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) – organisations fighting for human rights, education and health care for those affected by the HIV AIDS virus. Included among the group are TAC activist members own vocal group known as "The Generics", whose CD of music inspired Annie to make "Sing".
Recalls all those songs for causes from the 80s, it's also not a very good song (same as all those causes song, except for Free Nelson Mandela, that song still rocks, or more accurately, skanks).

This isn't an exercise in nostalgia, though. Rather, it's an artist who recognizes where her gift lies, and surrounds herself with sounds that highlight that gift. Bare was raw, tortured, she let all the cracks show, this is back to the more polished Annie we were used to. It's not an essential album if you were never a fan of hers, but it's a solid effort if you already enjoy what she's about. There are no stand out tracks, and there are no dogs on this album, it's a good album through and through.

Perusing Annie's official webpage, I notice she blogs, too. She seems to have been bitten by the BLOGTOBER bug as well, posting 3 times yesterday, her site is flash-based (boo!) so I can't link directly, but I'll reproduce in full her latest post here, cause, it's unexpected...
Tips and Hints!
October 1st 2007

This is where I get light and fluffy! At the throwaway suggestion of skin care, hair care and grooming it seems to have created a a small ripple of anticipation, so today’s the day when we can get down and get girly..

1. Your body is a temple...cleanse it every day! Showering is faster, greener and more cost effective...but do keep it clean. Use a loofah or brush to promote circulation, and exfoliate the skin. A hot bath, on the other hand is excellent for unwinding, and relaxing those tired stressed muscles. A little essential oil and a few candles help to soothe the mind. So take the time to say hello to your body. After bathing or showering...i recommend you use body oil to condition the skin. There are some fabulous oils available..but you can simply use sesame, almond or olive oil. Because you’re worth it!

2. Some people think the best way to condition hair is by not shampooing it too frequently. That’s fine for them, but I have to admit that I wash mine every day. If your hair is dry or in poor condition..always use hair conditioner, and make sure to rinse it off thoroughly behind the ears. You’ll have the pleasure of smooth silky hair that does what you want it to do. Get your hair trimmed regularly. And once you’ve found a hairdresser who gives you the kind of cut you like..stick with them, and don’t forget to tip.

3. My nails are appalling..I‘m far too busy to go to a manicurist, so it comes way down on my list. But a regular manicure can’t be a bad thing. Even you gentlemen out there might want to consider this. I gather lots of men do these days! Check your toes on a regular basis. Your toes are your most forgotten friends. They walk you through the day in oft times tired and painful circumstances..and do they get a word of thanks or appreciation??? No they don’t!! They get forgotten because they are just lowly toes!! Why don’t you take a moment each day to tell your toes you love them? You’ll find they’ll give you good service for the rest of your life! Remember..talcum and toes make great company!

4. How many people out there floss? How many people even know what “flossing” means? Well..flossing can be a little strange at first, but once you’ve got the habit of it, boy do your teeth and gums love you for it. Those crevices that have all kinds of aggravating food remnants harboured for days, will suddenly realise that they’ve been discovered! Out out damned food remnant! I will have thee no longer in the refuge of my tooth crevice! My gums will be pink and healthy..they will swell and bleed no more..they will lay down and be at the mercy of the deadly flossing device! Further more..all toothbrushes with “splayed out” bristles are well past their sell by date, and must be binned..( unfortunately I don’t think there’s a toothbrush recycling facility anywhere to be found.. hey ho)

5. Do face creams work? Do they really have the capacity to smooth and soften the appearance of wrinkles. Can they plump out those dry and desiccated skin cells like the Mohave desert after rainfall? I don’t know. And it’s completely baffling every time I enter the cosmetics department of a big department store. I have absolutely no idea where to begin. We spend billions on all these products, but hand on heart..do we really know whether they make any difference? Do check out the packaging..You’ll often find that the most expensive stuff is presented in a way that conceals the actual reduced size of the contents. It only looks big and shiny. Inside it’s something tiny! I don’t know...Here’s what I like, but it’s not an endorsement, “cause they’d have to pay me hint hint !!! (Kiels and Dr Haushka..there you go) I’m probably just suckered in by the packaging. Aren’t we all!?

That’s the end of my beauty tips for now folks. Hope it lightened up your day. Moving on to health and cookery next..after that back to misery and despair on the planet. Love Annie.

She's always come across as very well groomed, so I can accept grooming advice form her, now if ratty old Bruce Springsteen were to start blogging about his exfoliation routine, I might not heed his advice... (and if you thought I was going to force myself to listen to his crap album that also came out today, you have another thing coming, Cavemen will be bad enough, don't have to compound it by listening to Broooooooooooce)

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