Madeleine Peyroux - Half the Perfect World

Madeleine Peyroux
Half the Perfect World


First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2006, Volume 13, #9

Written by John Metzger


In helping Madeleine Peyroux sculpt her fourth outing Half the Perfect World, Larry Klein did precisely what any good producer ought to do: he got out of the way, thereby allowing her positively mesmerizing voice to do all of the heavy lifting. Much like on her previous effort Careless Love, the arrangements are delicate and light, and they are utilized primarily to frame the warm, earthy glow of her melancholy musings. With her relaxed, easy-going manner, Peyroux frequently recalls Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith, and, not surprisingly, she fares best whenever the music that surrounds her is rooted deeply in the distant past. She magnifies the fragile danger that lurks with Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomasí Blue Alert; she settles comfortably into the ethereal yearning of Johnny Mercerís The Summer Wind; and she makes her old-time charm fit naturally within the sweetly soulful structure of A Little Bit. Elsewhere, Iím All Right, which she co-wrote with Steely Danís Walter Becker, strikes a breezy, playful gait that belies the loneliness that emanates from its core, while she barely masks her sorrow on a cover of Charlie Chaplinís Smile. Although Peyroux isnít always successful in her bid to incorporate more contemporary material into her repertoire ó a cover of Fred Neilís Everybodyís Talkiní is ineffectively airy, and a rendition of Joni Mitchellís River, which she performs as a duet with k.d. lang, treads so politely that it sounds like The Carpenters ó her few missteps arenít sufficient to diminish the haunted, intimate beauty that resonates throughout Half the Perfect World. starstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Herbie Hancock - River: The Joni Letters

Jolie Holland - Springtime Can Kill You

Odetta - Vanguard Visionaries


Half the Perfect World is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box