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Traffic from Paradise

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iTunes Review

In 1979, Rickie Lee Jones singlehandedly made the singer/songwriter genre popular again. Then she grew into a kind of pop expressionist, but as her sales numbers shrank her listenability didn't. On this hugely underrated 1993 album (her seventh and last for Geffen), Jones scamps and croons from corners of pop and jazz and blues, and the songs go from beautifully hummable epistles of the broken and damned (“Beat Angels”) to poppy shuffles about ever-elusive happiness (“Jolie Jolie”) to prayerlike pieces (“Pink Flamingos”). She straddles the delicate balance between innocent yearning for love and its security (“Stewart’s Coat”) and outright sullied adulthood (“Tigers”). Her themes canvas places where dreams can either live or die, where you either soar or fail or come to a dead stop. The songs are sometimes as open-ended and ambiguous as the placement of tarkas and French horns and eight-string guitars, but you see vividly the indecent ghosts and the archipelagos and the animals and the girl brushing her teeth with licorice seeds. And Jones' perfect folksy-pop take on David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” adds vulnerability to its androgynous sass.

Customer Reviews

Better than the AMG review

Like the other reviewers, I think thisis much better than the AMG review. I don't think the vocals on this are that much different from other albums she made. I rank this only behind Flying Cowboys among Rickie Lee Jones' albums. Tracks 3 through 7 are excellent. The Rebel Rebel cover is great and Stewart 's Coat is one of the prettiest songs anyone could put out.

trust me

Ok this was the first ricki album i was ever exposed to so maybe I AM a bit biased....but this is truly a beautiful recording - especially Stewarts Coat and Beat Angels. Trust me!


The woman can do no wrong. This is a brilliant, sweet recording. To me, Rebel Rebel is the only tune that seems out of place with the rest of the record.


Born: November 8, 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...
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