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k. d. lang, Sing It Loud
Nonesuch Records, April 12

04/21/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



If there’s potential for a “Six Degrees of Roy Orbison” game in the major-label music world, k. d. lang would serve as one of its most-traveled conduits, having won her first Grammy with the Orbison duet “Crying” in 1989. The first part of SIL finds her not just channeling but actually becoming Orbison, in a way, which isn’t all that strange; her trademark image is a raw-talent butch yin to Boy George’s wobbly and effeminate yan, and what better way to accent the suit and tie than with the depthlessly lonely wolf-lowerings of the consummate emotional misfit? That said, moving forward, this isn’t a complete 180 from Patsy Cline at all, once the first couple of six-gun-totin’ guitar songs are in the books; it’s lovely, world-class dobro business as usual upon “The Water’s Edge” and elsewhere. This is lang’s first “real band” since the ‘80s, the upside of which is a lack of tin-pan orchestra, which makes for a nicely organic feel and deeper, more ethereal lines for her voice to loll over. Easily the most stunning thing on the album is the deep-and-rich refrain of the banjo-dotted “Habit of Mind,” which is too divine for the soccer-mom niche it’ll be pointed at. A

—Eric W. Saeger
 






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