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Crayons

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Album Review

Donna Summer sounds younger here than on her previous studio album, 1991's Mistaken Identity, or just about any of the isolated tracks that surfaced throughout the previous 17 years, which is a good thing as frequently as it is a bad thing. Crayons benefits from Summer's effortless energy; she was clearly into making this album, and her voice is as able and flexible as ever. However, almost all of the material with which she has to work — several stylistic angles are taken with the likes of Danielle Brisebois (Natasha Bedingfield, Kelly Clarkson) Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado), J.R. Rotem (Leona Lewis, Trey Songz), and several others — would make more sense on an album by a female teen pop group from the U.K. or, in some cases, a young adult catering to the coffeehouse market. One exception, if only from a lyrical standpoint, is "The Queen Is Back," where Summer refers to herself in the third person, as well as her past: "So many years ago on the radio/She crept into your soul and learned to love you." But it's really the type of move you'd expect from an aspiring diva on her second or third album. In-fashion vocal effects, which Summer certainly does not need, detract from a handful of these tracks, but as a whole, the album won't have trouble pleasing fans who just want to hear their queen have a blast and tear it up.

Customer Reviews

Great - but way too loud!

Donna Summer has always been a great artist, with a powerful voice. The more snobbish among us used to criticize her when she became the disco queen in the 80's, but we knew that she was a great artist. Her new album "Crayons" has some great songs, and her voice is better (and less polished) than ever. However.... why has her record label told their mastering engineer to destroy some of the tracks with way too much compression/limiting/normalizing? I hate normalizing. It kills the dynamics in the music, kills a lot of the sounds, creates distortion (listen to track 1 and recognize distortion that I am sure wasn't there when the studio engineer had finished his job!).

Biography

Born: 31 December 1948 in Boston, MA

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Donna Summer's title as the "Queen of Disco" wasn't mere hype. Like many of her contemporaries, she was a talented vocalist trained as a powerful gospel belter, but she set herself apart with her songwriting ability, magnetic stage presence, and shrewd choice of studio collaborators, all of which resulted in sustained success. During the '70s alone, she topped the Billboard club chart 11 times with high-quality, often-high concept material that included the rapturous "Love to Love You Baby," the...
Full bio