There's been no shortage of UK divas in recent years, with everyone from Adele to Lily Allen making their mark on the public consciousness. From the brassiness of Duffy to the quirks of Marina and the Diamonds, we've seen it all lately.


So along comes yet another female singer, with a retro approach. This one, though, is something else entirely. 


Rumer's debut album, Seasons Of My Soul, is a bit like a warm bath. The record is fairly simple, with few adornments. Unlike many of the females near the top of the charts (I'm looking at you, Katy Perry and Cheryl Cole), Rumer writes all her own songs. She's also got a voice that could melt the coldest critical heart.


Rumer has opted to go on the slow route, with perhaps an older-than-the-average-pop-fan audience in mind. In some ways, that's too bad, because her lyrically complex songs and gentle arrangements certainly have something to show those younger whippersnappers. 


The influences in her music come from long ago, and include Burt Bacharach, Karen Carpenter, and 1930s and '40s jazz. It all comes together in 11 impeccable, beautifully put together songs, which have an appeal to anyone who appreciates music that's just . . . well, good. 


The only complaint I have about the album - and it's a minor one - is that there's not a lot of change of tempo in the tunes; they pretty much plod along in the same mode throughout. For the most part, though, that's okay - it matches the style of the singer and the songs. Rumer has a fairly deep emotional complexity to the songs, but in some ways there's also a refreshing reserve there as well. 


Nearly every song on the record is a standout, but my favorites start with the two singles releases so far : 


"Slow" is true to its name, and smolders seductively while telling a tale of a new love. The singer, perhaps, is not completely sure about how she feels, and how deep she wants to go. This is all accompanied by plucked strings and a soft rhythm. 


"Aretha" is a tale of sadness and loneliness. The singer filters her feelings about her life through the music of the Queen of Soul. Again, a story is told with subtlety and poignancy. The soft horns throughout the tune add a quiet emphasis. 


"Take Me As I Am" and closing track "Goodbye Girl" invite Karen Carpenter comparisons, but Rumer is, if anything, better than Karen, concentrating all of the vocal panache of the 1970s icon into more meaningful songs. 


"Saving Grace" is a classic, again telling a story. Comparing the drudgery of a poor daily existence with a new relationship, the song is honest and beautiful. The tune is a bit reminiscent to me, for some reason, of Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly". 


If you're tired of the over-produced and processed music of today's pop world, you can do no better than to take a break from it with Rumer. I give this album a 9 on the England Swings scale of 1-10. 
3/28/2012

will come back soon

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9/26/2012

Many thanks for data

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