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k.d. Lang – Recollection

2010-03-18 08:13
What's most wonderful about k.d. Lang both as a public and as a star is her consistency. She's out of the closet – and it's not a big deal, because she just is. She's a vegetarian country star – a less popular standpoint, but also not a big deal, becaue she just is. She doesn’t try to doll herself up to go after a market she’s not. She’s a quiet sort of superstar.

Like its maker Recollections is more than it seems. It's not just a collection of k.d. Lang's greatest original hits (although quite a few are on here). As well as giving a retrospective of her major songwriting hits that includes work off 2008’s Watershed and gives the more countrybilly sounds of her debut a miss, k.d. also pays tribute to some of her favourite songwriters with some really sweet cover versions on Recollection.

She mixes her own work, collaborations and co-written pieces on both CDs, taking the showiness out of the torch songs – her version of "The Air That I Breathe" is all the more moving because it’s more emotionally reserved. Not all Neil Young fans will like her version of "Helpless" but it's a relaxed, listenable one that’s more nostalgic and less tormented than the original. She adds a bit of slide and cowboy cheese to Chris Isaak's "Western Stars". And Leonard Cohen's brilliant "Halleluljah" closes each side. This song is hard to screw up… but she gets it right not once but twice. In many cases, she guests with the songwriter – with Orbison on "Crying" and flashes her diva’s vocal chops on "Moonglow" with Tony Bennet.

Her own songs, sit comfortably among their more famous friends, glueing them together. This music to sooth, caress and however sad it might sound, comfort you. Nostalgia at its most healing.

Ms Lang always shows her true colours as a slow-burning star of country pop - with a twist of lesbian.

What to read next: Kalahari

Jan 2010/03/24 11:00 AM
She can really sing, Constant Craving is one of the best pop songs ever in my opinion.
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