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Soul of My Soul

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Michelle Shocked is an artist who likes to reach for the grand gesture in the recording studio — most of her albums are built around some broad overriding theme, she's fond of epic-scale sessions with a wide variety of musicians, and in 2005 she released three full-length albums of newly recorded material on the same day. So what's most startling about 2009's Soul of My Soul is its modesty and accessibility — the album features ten songs that spin by in a mere 35 minutes, and it's the closest thing to a radio-friendly pop/rock album that Shocked has ever released. Devin Powers produced the album and played most of the instruments, and he's given Shocked an engaging set of tracks to work with, from the light R&B of "Liquid Prayer" and the sassy dance-friendly pop of "Paperboy" to the gentle contemporary folk feel of "Other People" and the full-on rock of "Giant Killer." The sound of the album fits this batch of songs, which for the most part are more playful than one might expect from Shocked, especially the sly and sexy "Paperboy" and the plainspoken affirmations of love in "Waterproof" and "Love's Song." Shocked is in fine voice here, and she seems to be having a lot of fun making like a pop diva or a rock & roll belter. Curiously for Shocked, it's when Soul of My Soul ventures into deeper waters that the album is least effective. "Ballad of the Battle of the Ballot and the Bullet, Pt. 1: Ugly Americans" is a sharply pointed political broadside against the abuses of the George W. Bush administration and the crackdown on dissent under his rule, while "Other People" and "Pompeii" more subtly but clearly deal with the failures of W's reign. While the songs are intelligent, well-written, and obviously sincere, their appearance on an album released about three and a half months after Barack Obama's inauguration feels curious — it's not as if all the issues they raise have vanished, but with the primary target of her rage out of office and rejected by a majority of Americans (who voted his party out of control of both Congress and the White House), it feels like beating a horse that isn't going anywhere soon. Released during the heat of the 2008 presidential campaign, Soul of My Soul would have sounded both exciting and up to date; as it stands, in the spring of 2009 it's a surprisingly strong exercise in grown-up pop that feels just a bit thematically dated.


Född: 24 februari 1962 i Dallas, TX

Genre: Rock

Aktiva år: '80s, '90s, '00s

Michelle Shocked was born Michelle Johnston in Dallas, TX, in 1962, where she spent her early childhood traveling around army bases. In 1977, she ran away from her Mormon fundamentalist mother to live with her father, who introduced her to country bluesmen Big Bill Broonzy and Leadbelly, as well as contemporary songwriters Guy Clark and Randy Newman. She spent the next several years exploring the folk underground, spending the early '80s in Austin, where she began honing her own songwriting skills....
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Soul of My Soul, Michelle Shocked
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