Melody Gardot: The Absence

Album review
Melody Gardot: The Absence

Melody Gardot

The Absence

Label: Verve/Decca
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop
Ratings:
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Melody Gardot’s best songs have the half-festive, half-mordant air of a New Orleans funeral march. On blues from her superb 2009 album, My One and Only Thrill, her voice even sounds vaguely New Orleanian. On ballads, however, she can be as mainstream-lyrical as Norah Jones, then strut and scat like Sassy. All of which is to say that 26-year-old Ms. Gardot is a work in progress, still making all styles of jazz/pop her own. In her newest album, The Absence, Gardot dons the music of Brazil like a second skin. The album is dreamy, exotic, rather too vaguely lovely, and, ultimately, as ersatz as one of Paul Simon’s toe-dips into world music. It’s also overproduced by Gardot’s collaborator, Brazilian composer and guitarist Heitor Pereira. That’s OK. The kid is savvy enough to have penned several cuts (“If I Tell You That I Love You I’m Lying” and “Goodbye,” for examples) that have that wry, unblinking honesty I think of as distinctively Gardot, plus a couple of “Brazilian” numbers (such as “Yemanja”) with more than a touch of the same gift. If The Absence isn’t a complete success, it doesn’t alter my opinion that Ms. Gardot is the finest young singer/songwriter around.

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Contributors:
  • primary artist, Melody Gardot

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