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Album Review

After the critical (and commercial) success of her debut two years earlier, Rickie Lee Jones had a lot riding on her sophomore album, Pirates. From the opening track, "We Belong Together," Jones served notice that she was willing to challenge herself and experiment with more unusual, complex song structures. Her unique phrasing and style reflect her interest in beat poets and the bohemian lifestyle, and on this album she relies on more obscure imagery than the direct, detailed observations on comrades used on her first album. There are a wide range of musical influences represented (rock, jazz, soul), but the acoustic arrangements are more piano-based than most of her other albums. While there is an undercurrent of reflection on failed romances, Jones also reveals her playful side with songs like "Woody and Dutch." The musical and lyrical variety on the album is best represented in the album's centerpiece, "Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue)," where she moves through mood and tempo changes with ease. Although the songs may not immediately grab the listener, the lyrical and musical complexities ultimately make this album more rewarding with every listen.

Customer Reviews

Mesmerizing

Almost 30 years later and still playing it over and over. Truly a classic from Ricki Lee!

Exceptional

Often overlooked, this is may be her best album, which is surprising for a sophomore effort. Traces is a masterpiece.

Biography

Born: November 08, 1954 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

From her 1979 debut onward, Rickie Lee Jones has proved to be an original, mixing beatnik-based poetic sensibilities with R&B, jazz, folk, and pop. Most of her commercial success came at the outset of her career, but a restless creative spirit -- combined with a stubborn refusal to fit comfortably into any one musical niche -- sealed her ultimate destiny as that of a highly regarded cult heroine. Jones was born on November 8, 1954, in Chicago, but the volatile relationship between her mother and...
Full bio
Pirates, Rickie Lee Jones
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