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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Apr 24th, 2014

Joan Osborne: Love and Hate

joan osborneJoan Osborne
Love and Hate
(eOne Music)

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“Where We Start” begins the new Joan Osborne album, Love and Hate. Swirling strings, acoustic guitar and piano undulate under the woman’s strong, sloppy (funky?) enunciation.

“Work On Me” has a distinctly Latin feel with its snappy clave, violin and classical guitar plucking; there’s a wonderful lyric here, solid backing “ah’s” to Osborne’s equally solid vocals. We are into some groovin’ 70’s-like sexiness on the positively commercially wonderful “Mongrels,” which has funky keys and great electric swirl under Osborne’s blues phrasing. This is the first great song on the record for me.

“Thirsty For My Tears” is a nice medium rockin’ country number with solid lyrics, perfectly played piano and again a pumpin’ commercial chorus. This one especially reveals how slyly Osborne’s tunes are produced. “Love and Hate” sees Osborne picking her perfect slow moments word for word, marrying a piano under her and some low strings. By the time it comes around, we are more than ready for the roiling “Kitten’s Got Claws.” This one’s got a pulsating bass under Osborne’s hurt, the whole concoction just about ready to blow, but never does in a very well-studied arrangement with the vocal really holding it all together.

“Secret Room,” a beautiful song of acoustic guitar and piano, might be the best Osborne vocal here. Things get sexy, nasty, perfectly-so on the Ray Charles-influenced “Keep It Underground.” The Middle Eastern-sounding “Raga” is a story song with Osborne once again following the melody line from the acoustic guitar. It’s a wonderful, quick ender.

As it is always the case with Joan Osborne, Love and Hate presents some great songs, wonderful production and the woman’s spectacular, expressive voice.

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Joan Osborne: Love and Hate