Annie Lennox is one of Britain’s most iconic solo female singers, who first shot to our attention as one half of Eurythmics, with former flame Dave Stewart. Lennox went solo is 1990 and Nostalgia marks her sixth album release. A few of Lennox’s solo albums have been cover collections and Nostalgia is another album of classic songs that she has put her own spin on. In her own words: “Every singer loves the challenge of interpreting truly inspirational songs. Each one of these masterpieces stands as lasting testimony to the brilliant go their creaters – their individual beauty, power and poetry continues to stand the test of time. The song selection was very personal and intuitive”.
The album opens up very cleverly, with what we can hear isn’t her instant raspy voice, but a gentle sounding gramophone noise, playing music, with Lennox’s voice not piercing the track until almost a minute in. It’s a gentle and powerful way to open the album and being only 2 minutes 47 seconds in length, with a similar tapering off at the end with the gramophone effect, the song ends almost as quickly as it starts and it makes you ready for the next song instantly. Georgia On My Mind follows and we have to say that this is one of our favourites on the album, full of grace and the power and sound of a woman in total control. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You is given a stripped down and slow smoky-blues, jazz feel and she injects a lot of sultriness to the song.
We can’t decide whether or not we like the version of Summertime that appears on the album, it’s very hard for us to be able to dissect this song without hearing the original in our minds. Summertime has been covered by various artists and one of our favourite covers of it is the Stereophonics version, who added a lot of oomph and depth to the song. It may be a grower, but for now, we feel as if we are sitting on the fence with this one!
Strange Fruit was a cry for civil rights, some might even say it was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. At the time that Billie Holiday sung the song, she was allowed to perform at certain venues, yet she was not allowed to sit at the tables there. Hearing the song sung by Lennox doesn’t take away the power of the words in the songs or the emotion behind it, but it can never really match the sadness, the warmth or how much meaning that the original had. God Bless This Child and I Cover the Waterfront are further Holiday covers and her beautiful voice gives them the strength needed.
You Belong to Me is a really warm feeling song, it reminds us of Christmas, of good, relaxing times and it’s a lovely mellow song to play along on a chilled out day. The song is full of beauty and it’s pretty romantic. The romantic feel continues through September In The Rain. Powering her way gently through I Can Dream, Can’t I?, Lennox’s voice dances and twists, her voice sounding very husky, hitting some beautiful high notes that mix well together. The album finishes with a slightly more up-beat feel on Mood Indigo (if that can be said when describing a predominantly blues song), the honky tonk piano adds a different flavour and the glossy harmonies that end the song makes for a classy close to the album.
We feel as if it has been rather a long time since Lennox released her own maternal (almost seven years), so we would have liked to have seen at least a few original songs on here, seeing as this is her first album release in four years. That said, who could ever tire of listening to her stunning voice, cover versions, or not? The album remains a strong body of work from Lennox and it is completely relaxing and moving. Lennox’s voice rises through your speakers and touches you, with the music a distant second, that seems there only to complement the most powerful thing in the songs – her voice.