Linda Chorney

Chornographey

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Chorney favors punny titles on occasion, and while her wicked sense of humor is part of her appeal, her songwriting is always sharp and to the point. Her flexible voice can be playful, tender, or assertive depending on the song, but she always delivers the goods. None of the songs on Chornographey are sexually explicit, but they are raw and honest in a way that most pop music isn't. Chorney delves deep into dysfunctional relationships and lets you know exactly what's going on without sugar coating the bad or turning the good times into pop clich├ęs. The tunes loosely delineate the vicissitudes of a love affair, from a blissful beginning to an uncertain end. "Sit on the Steps" is a playful, seductive way to open the album; it's the song of a gal on the road dreaming of her guy back in the big city, promising to give him a kiss that will set off internal fireworks. The reggae groove of "Dance More Less War" includes a scathing putdown of hypocritical politicians while inviting you to get up and move your body. The problems start to surface on "Fins," a swinging, bluesy number that finds Chorney asking herself how she could have ignored her lover's obvious flaws, but she sings it with an easy, smirking grace. "Stay Away from Love" is a straightforward folk-rock tune with a vaguely Latin backbeat, its never-gonna-fall-in-love-again message undermined by the singer's ironic declaration at the end of the song: "Who am I kidding?" "Fragile Today" lives up to its title, with Chorney's poignant vocal and a wrenching lyric that digs deep into the grief one feels at the end of an affair, slightly leavened by a touch of bitter humor. "Drinking" is a remarkably quiet performance, but it sums up the conflicts between a drinker and his sober partner with a chilling honesty. It's the most emotional song on the album. The disc closes on a high note with "Better Daze"; Chorney's multi-tracked harmonies are gorgeous and the song's lush, melodic changes express all the feelings of premature parting from bittersweet regrets to the hope for a better future that may be unattainable. The arrangement closes with a long, beautifully orchestrated instrumental passage that blends tabla, strings, keyboards, and jazzy bass runs into a dreamy, slightly dissonant suite.

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