Linda Chorney

1 Kiss at a Time

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Despite the cheapening of language and the casual use of profanity that have been the hallmark of much pop music since the '90s, it's still possible to write lyrics that will jolt listeners out of their complacency. When Linda Chorney sings: "I have my integrity because I only spread my legs for losers" on "Sleep" it makes you sit up and pay attention. The song is a lament about the corruption of the music business, but unlike many songs on the subject, it's saved from sounding like a spoiled complaint by the singer's arch humor and sly vocal delivery. Musically, it's an unlikely blend of skewed opera singing, Andrews Sisters-style swing, and country-meets-hip-hop full of witty asides like, "I'm no Brittany Spears, from my head to my toe I got the same color hair." The rest of the album explores Chorney's usual concern - dysfunctional relationships -- with her expected musical and lyrical panache, and arrangements that show off her wide-ranging musical interests. She celebrates love's giddy excesses on tunes like "Constant," a smooth country rocker with mellow, twangy guitar and a purring vocal. "Like Into Love," which sports an impressive, Beatles-influenced arrangement complete with a sharp, George Harrison-flavored slide guitar work, and "Oz," a country-rocker about falling in love down under, so to speak, with a bright backbeat that suggests American country music being played by a Mersybeat band. She looks at the darker side of love on "It's All Good," a song with crunchy, Keith Richards power chords supporting a lyric that finds our heroine giving herself a pep talk after the end of an affair with her characteristic combination of wry cynicism and hope, and "Living Alone," a bluesy, late-night meditation on the difference between being alone and being lonely that's sadly jubilant. There are also songs full of poignant, straightforward emotion. "Reserved for Tracy" is a moving tribute to a close friend who always comes through in the crunch, and "Carlos" is a lament for a friend who passed on that's a showcase for Chorney's quietly intense vocals and the subtle acoustic guitar and fiddle work of her backing musicians.

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