Album Review: Diana Krall ‘Glad Rag Doll’
Are you tired of mass produced and pandering music? Does raw talent turn you on more than image and spectacle? Do you long for a simple, beautiful collection of songs that aren’t obviously trying to sell you anything? Then you– yes, you– may be utterly put off by my infomercial-style sales pitch, but you should find a lot to love about Diana Krall and her latest album, Glad Rag Doll.
Artists like Diana Krall are very rarely exciting for most people at first glance, which is a shame because it means that many are missing out. There are not a lot of people chomping at the bit for a new release, and there is not a huge degree of fanaticism among fans of more subtle and measured art, but Diana Krall should not be taken for granted. Lest we forget how good she is, and damn, she is good.
“We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye” doesn’t just sound like a performance with an old fashioned feeling, but a performance really from that lost era of some sixty years ago, and this is testament to the remarkable nature and ability of Diana Krall. This music doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be anything, but is naturally timeless and charming.
It helps that these are cover songs, all of them, of mainly jazz recordings from the 1920s and 1930s. They aren’t all popular songs a lot of people are going to know, and they really don’t have the sound of cover versions at all.
“There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth the Salt of My Tears” feels cool and funky, empowered and determined. This is a rendition which has learned from the best experiments in genre in the generations since its first run, and the execution of both the musicians and the producers here is flawless.
“Just Like a Butterfly That’s Caught in the Rain” is a pretty and very clever song, and it feels like one that is important to this record, adding a world of charm to what could otherwise be an overly stylistic experience. It’s songs like this one which help the listener to go back to that place, rather than feel that they are simply hearing about it.
Most of the songs featured on Glad Rag Doll try only to make very simple points, but in a way these are the kinds of notions we most often overlook today. A track like “You Know I Know Ev’rything’s Made for Love” is an argument hard to counter: that the only reason we exist as people is for love, the pursuit of it and the basking in its glow. You’re not going to find exactly that message from Ke$ha or Pitbull.
The title track reveals a side to the album that isn’t completely obvious, but goes hand in hand with the cover art, which features a sexy, burlesque Krall on display and (we hope) for sale to the highest bidder. “Glad Rag Doll” is a song about a woman who feels used, and that her only worth to the opposite sex is to fulfill their urges and then be cast aside in favor of women who can be brought home to mother. It’s a very stripped down and bare song musically, fittingly, for a quiet moment of confession.
This album certainly won’t appeal to all tastes, but it should reach out equally to existing fans of older standards and jazz music, and to those simply tired of the top 40 world we live in. Diana Krall’s Glad Rag Doll is a great collection.
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Image Courtesy of Island