Rickie Lee Jones

Ghostyhead

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Ghostyhead finds Rickie Lee Jones in the odd position of following a younger generation, as its languid trip-hop beats suggest that she has been listening to Portishead, Tricky, and Beth Orton. It is certainly a precarious situation, since she could seem out of touch and old-fashioned, but it is a makeover she pulls off surprisingly well. Jones tends to follow the trippy, free-form structures of trip-hop, which means the melodies occasionally meander and the lyrics are more impressionistic than usual, concentrating on the overall effect instead of the details. There are still more solidly constructed songs than atmospheric instrumentals, which gives the album an anchor, making the electronic echoes and rolling beats all the more effective. Although the songs aren't among Jones' best, the musical adventurousness of Ghostyhead -- which manages to be contemporary without sacrificing her style -- makes the album a revitalization of sorts.

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