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It's Like This

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Album Review

Not since Billie Holiday has there been a vocalist who so completely transforms a song into her own. On It's Like This, eclectic folkie Rickie Lee Jones envelops standards, showtunes, '70s soul, and even slick jazz-rock, interpreting them with her familiar childlike, breathy shouts. In a very similar vein as 1991's Pop Pop, Jones pulls together a collection of diverse songs from throughout the 20th century and gives them a sparse, fragile spin, kind of like Diana Krall and Björk sharing coffee at an all-night diner.

Produced by Bruce Brody (who has also worked with Maria McKee and Bette Midler), this album is really a showcase for the dynamic vocalist — her voice pitching and yawing like a sloop far out at sea. Several notable artists scatter themselves unobtrusively throughout the album like Joe Jackson, Ben Folds, John Pizzarelli, and Taj Mahal; each lend a subtle bassline or harmony vocal, cautiously not stepping on any of Jones' delicate lines.

Her passionate, earthy version of Marvin Gaye's "blaxploitation" hit "Trouble Man" is as soulful as her cover of the Beatles' "For No One" is pleading, each reaching out to the listener like a whisper from an inch away. Jones' unmistakable style is unlike anyone else's, and that fact alone will turn away some potential listeners; however, for fans of gentle jazz-pop, It's Like This is an intimate, dreamy wander through the songbooks of the last century.

Customer Reviews

Stunning!

That's the best way to describe this release. I have loved Rickie Lee Jones since her first album and followed her career every step. This cd came out after '97's GHOSTYHEAD, a very experimental album that did poorly (a shame). This was her first independent release after 12 years bouncing around on various Warner Bros. labels. For someone so identified as a singer/SONGWRITER this was a brave choice. Rickie has always done covers, but a covers album from such a various selection of music... well only someone like RLJ could pull it off! From Steely Dan and Traffic to the Gershwins and Charlie Chaplin! The Beatles cover is a stand-out, as is Cycles. I remember working a a record store in '97 and playing this cd. A customer heard Cycles and bought it on the spot. Apparently it was recorded by Frank Sintra on a hard to find album (at the time). They played it (Frank's version) a lot on a sunday morning Sinatra radio show in Philly. I also loved this release because the jazzy songs reminded me one of my favorite RLJ albums, Pop Pop. Buy IT'S LIKE THAT right away!

golden leaves and shady trees

This album reshaped my mucical awareness. never since have I been so enchanted and excited to learn more about so many diferent artists all at once. However it's the simpleness of rickie's swanky voice with satin melody that pulled my heart into a selfless caress. It took me back and my imagination went wild listening to the remake of these great songs that only miss jones could have pulled off with such ease...

Oh Rickie You're So Fine

I can only review one song on this album - I got it off of e-music. "For No One" is the most beautiful Paul McCartney song that most people have never heard. Rickie does an excellent version of it. You know a song is great when a totally different artist covers it, and covers it uniquely, and it still sounds great. I haven't tried any of the others yet but I will be tempted. Show Biz Kids sounds interesting.

Biography

Born: November 8, 1954 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

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

Once touted as the natural successor to Joni Mitchell, singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones proved no less idiosyncratic or mercurial; like Mitchell, Jones experienced significant commercial success at the outset of her career, but a restless creative spirit — combined with a stubborn refusal to fit comfortably into...
Full Bio