Grace Jones - Hurricane

2009-03-31 17:08
 
Hurricane
 
There's no "who is this?" moment when Hurricane hits your CD player. With the opening line, "This is my voice / my weapon of choice", Grace's hot, fat-snake vocals bring that scary, thrilling 80s adrenaline straight up through your veins, while the beats keep it pumping through your body.

Not exactly healthy, not even mentally, but as thrillingly cheesy as ever, she starts singing "Amazing Grace" but mercifully cuts it short at the end of the catchy, but serious "Williams' Blood".

Reinventing herself? No no. She's not, but she's exploring herself, her past and her place in the world - like a big grown up girl admitting to the little girl trapped inside of her and saying "This is why." You're not listening to some kind of vomitously contrite confession, but rather to someone who's recently spent some time discovering and accepting the sources of her powerful female fury.

A rage she makes danceable - and fun. Because do you take the intro to "Corporate Cannibal" seriously as she intones: "You won't hear me laughing as I terminate your day", in a voice deep with the deliciously slick dark lacquer of human blud. Or do you just get into character and enjoy it?

You may as well go with the flow, because otherwise you'll miss out on the drama of "Hurricane", a miniature musical drama about nurturing, birthing, ripping up trees, and er… evil stupid men. It features Tricky, less like a collaborator than as a sort of lurker from the 90s, a decade when Grace apparently spent cooling her heels, gathering force for this powerful return.

Formerly Pulp's Ant Genn (himself a drug-addled hellraiser in Grace's heyday) takes the production helm and blends Grace's cosmopolitan influences into a thick, menacing concoction that doesn't change what Grace Jones does, just adds to it the benefits of today's richest production - a double-thickness that matches her vocal textures very well.

Ant has a lot to work with. Grace is backed by a snowstorm of hot collaborators and producers who seem to support her every move, treating Grace as she perhaps needs to be treated - like the queen of all queens. She lists 19 musicians as members of her band, in addition to what sounds like 15 Grace Clones on backing vocals (actually, they're all her).

The album dies down a little bit for the last few songs, growing gentler and kinder, but "Love You to Life", "Sunset Sunrise" and "Devil in My Life" are still all worth having, if you can forgive their relatively "by numbers" sound.

It's fab, fantastic, freaky stuff.

Ms Jones' comeback is unapologetically retro. And why not? Why would anyone as awesome as Grace Jones want to reinvent herself?

What to read next: Kalahari

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