Alana Davis

Fortune Cookies

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Alana Davis' sophomore album was released an astounding four years after her solid debut, Blame It on Me. The album is a triumphant return of an artist sadly missing in action. Her new songs are built around simple rhythm guitar with hints of funk, reggae, and soul. Fortune Cookies sounds remarkably fresh and immediate, considering that it was years in the making. It is no surprise that a singer/songwriter as talented as Davis would have progressed wonderfully as a songwriter and musician. The album's core theme of struggling to maintain optimism while mired in solitude encompasses the entire disc, making it more unified than her debut. Musically, a creative mix of drum production and string arrangements also makes Fortune Cookies a fresh and sexy treat. Davis' Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell influences are once again apparent and applied with inspiration. The musical landscape was decidedly more open to female singers back in 1997, but the audience for an intelligent, soulful songwriter may have actually grown. Davis has more in common with Alicia Keyes and Maxwell than Jewel anyway. Standout tracks include the first single, "I Want You," and the collaboration with super-producers the Neptunes on "Bye Bye (AKA My Life)." This album contains a cover more surprising than Blame It on Me's "32 Flavors": Whodini's "Friends." If radio programmers know what's good for them, they will play this awesome reworking of the 1984 hip-hop classic. Fortune Cookies confidently avoids the pitfalls of a sophomore slump. The (second) arrival of a major talent.

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