Tanita Tikaram

Eleven Kinds of Loneliness

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Much of Tanita Tikaram's songwriting is actually about generating mood rather than dealing with lyrics that have a conclusive structure to them. While she's proven able to write complete lyrics in the past, she more often produces lyrics that are almost broken down, focusing on a mood, an image or an idea rather than developing that into a story.

Musically, it's another matter, and this is where she excels. She has a knack for great musical hooks and for engaging arrangements that pull you into the music, balancing that music off against her deep, dark voice. What makes this even more intriguing is that her voice is very much the rusty folk singer type of voice -- there are times when she reaches for a note and misses, and even that never stops her. But she makes it work -- her songs are structured around her vocal characteristics, and she uses her voice to good effect with her songs. Eleven Kinds of Loneliness (which has twelve songs, indicating one isn't about loneliness) is uniformly listenable, especially if you allow the music as a whole sweep over you. Tikaram is a born cynic whose penchant is for examining elements of life and love from that cynical viewpoint; still, there's a sense of joy, if only in the music, that comes through, balancing the edge. Her talents still need some fine-tuning, but she's on her way to being a consistently solid presence in the singer/songwriter arena.

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