Songs Of Mass Destruction

Annie Lennox

Arista, 2007

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/17/2007

For those of you picking up this new CD by Annie Lennox primarily for the benefit song “Sing,” I would advise you to be warned. It’s the worst song on the album. With its headline-grabbing Choir of 23 (only Madonna and Joss Stone’s voice can be heard), the track is poorly conceived and, as a result, falls completely apart from the sheer weight of it all. In short, it’s a mess.

Yes, Annie is doing all she can here to bring the issue of AIDS in Africa to the fore, but America has been rendered immobile by all the causes out there competing for our attention and help. We’re in the middle of a stupid war, Annie, or have you noticed? The subject of the Middle East alone has been causing enough apathy, without adding the plight of Africa into the mix. bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

Apart from “Sing,” there are plenty of other morose, downbeat material to ponder over on Songs Of Mass Destruction, Annie Lennox’s fourth solo album. Titles like “Dark Road,” “Through The Glass Darkly” and “Lost” are just what the manic depressives of the world have ordered. It's dark, gloomy and simply perfect for those of us who seem to get more out of music like this than any amount of time spent in a psychiatrist’s office. If anything, much of this record could be used as an adjunct to one’s therapy. I’m not kidding.

But like our moods, the music here is ever changing. When the upbeat numbers kick in (and there are more of those this time around), the emotionally-charged lyrics give the listener a moment of freedom and catharsis from their melancholic burdens. Hearing Annie break free at the end of “Love Is Blind” when she recites “Tired of being down on luck, tired of being beaten up, tired of being so screwed up” lets you know that Annie means some serious business.

She then proceeds to take things to the next level on “Ghosts In My Machine” (think “Take Your Pain Away”) and “Womankind” (think “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves”). Many of the other songs are the type of gauzy fare we have come to expect from the former Eurythmic. Personally, I could do without hearing another “Why” retread. Nevertheless, ballads like “Smithereens,” “Big Sky” and “Fingernail Moon” are also there for the taking. Undoubtedly, Enya and Dido fans will find that kind of relaxing stuff appealing. Call me old school, but I’ll take “Little Bird” and even “Coloured Bedspread” (dumb titles, great songs) over that other boring stuff any day.

Oh and by the way, Glen Ballard of Alanis Morissette fame produced this album, which is, by far, Annie’s personal best thus far. Look out Grammy Awards, here she comes.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Arista, and is used for informational purposes only.