First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2005, Volume 12, #2
Written by T.J. Simon
On her eighth album Thatís Life, 42-year-old, British jazz vocalist Julia Fordham delivers a ten-pack of slow-tempo songs while drawing from a wealth of contemporary R&B influences. Her style is often compared to Joni Mitchell, and she delivers her vocals in a husky, subdued manner that similarly oozes sensuality on the discís best tracks (Sugar and Perfect Me). Fordhamís strength has always been her intelligently crafted lyrics, and her focus upon the ups and downs of romance on this release is presented with strength and creativity ó particularly on Iím Sorry butÖ and Guilty.
Unfortunately, the instrumentation that pervades Thatís Life is straightforward and largely unremarkable with the lone exception being the inclusion of a horn section that punctuates Walking on Water. Elsewhere, Billy Preston assists with some easy-listening keyboards, and all of the percussion sounds pre-programmed with little additional thought. Primarily, however, Thatís Life is in desperate need of a tempo change. The songs are so slow and wistful that most listeners will have a hard time maintaining any kind of focus ó relegating the album to pleasant but uninspired background noise. In other words, those who are curious about exploring Fordhamís stronger moments will find her 1989 album Porcelain or her 2002 effort Concrete Love to be far more interesting.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box