Comeback albums are tricky, and a good portion of them end up in the bargain bin at your local CD shop. It's been nearly twenty years since Jamaican experimental-maven Grace Jones released her last album, the pop Bulletproof Heart, which, though scoring her a few dance tracks, was largely ignored by fans. Ms. Jones, who is best known for her strange blend of funk, reggae, pop and rock, already has nine studio albums under her belt as well as a slew of greatest hits collections, a successful cabaret act, and a handful of critically acclaimed films.
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After her last two studio efforts were shelved (Forces of Nature and Black Marilyn), Grace Jones has returned with a nine-track masterpiece known as Hurricane. Granted, it has taken forever to get this record released, but if it takes two decades, then it takes two decades; Grace hasn't sounded this good since 1981. Ms. Jones has always been known for being a little scary, like she could unhinge her jaw and swallow the Sears Tower, and she continues the tradition on this record. Starting with the line, "This is my voice - my weapon on choice!" “This Is” opens the record on a very dark, yet punching note which sets the tone for the rest of the album.
The leadoff single, “Corporate Cannibal,” was a very good choice, as it reaffirms the matronly spirit present in Ms. Jones's work. Half spoken, half-sung, Grace performs the song with that classic energy that made her famous to being with. Trust me, you will be afraid of Ms. Jones if you weren't already before. Mixing industrial rock with minimalist and sparse influences, Grace has taken what makes her so special and updated it for a 2008 audience. Second single “Williams' Blood,” one of the only auto-biographical songs Ms. Jones has ever performed, is another really heavy album cut that commands your attention - "I got the Williams' blood in me!" essentially sets the track’s pace.
The title track may be the best cut on this album, once again experimenting with a minimalist take, the likes of which we've never seen before. Grace's entire body of work has always been about excess - everything from her trio of disco albums to her 80s pop music. This is the first time we really get wind (no pun intended) of just how powerful Ms. Jones's voice and presence truly is. There are no bad songs here. There aren't even weak ones. “Sunset, Sunrise,” written by her son, is a smartly produced reggae song, and the heavier “I'm Crying (Mother's Tears)” as well as “Devil in My Life” show Grace singing from an autographical perspective once again.
Across the board, Grace's Hurricane LP is one of the best albums to be released in 2008 with its nine tracks of beautifully crafted experimental music that combines her 80s style with an updated and mature elegance. For the first time since “Slave to the Rhythm,” Ms. Jones has combined a cutting-edge sound with an accessible, yet interesting execution.
1. "This Is" (5 Stars)
2. "Williams' Blood" (5 Stars)
3. "Corporate Cannibal" (5 Stars)
4. "I'm Crying (Mother's Tears)" (4 Stars)
5. "Well Well Well" (4 Stars)
6. "Hurricane" (5 Stars)
7. "Love You to Life" (4 Stars)
8. "Sunset Sunrise" (5 Stars)
9. "Devil in My Life" (5 Stars)
Total: 4.6 Stars (5 Stars)