Six years on from her debut album Dirty Child, Rosey returns with her sophomore set. In the interim, a proposed covers album was scrapped after the singer decided a tribute album to her musical heroines made less sense than allowing their inspiration to work through her. The result is Luckiest Girl, an album that allows the singer/songwriter to explore at length her jazz influences. Those influences are wide-ranging, encompassing artists as far afield as Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, and makes for a surprisingly eclectic set. Roaming down yesteryear's path, Rosey hits some unintentional dead ends along the way, for not all her attempts to blend jazz and pop succeed. What works best are a clutch of big-band styled songs, including the sassy "Those Eyes," the slinky, sultry set opener "It's a Ruse," the defiantly upbeat "Be Somebody Blues," and the smoky torch song "It's Easier on Me." Her old hit "Love" is also subtly reworked to great effect, its Latin rhythms accentuated and counter-pointed by moody, gypsy flavored passages. Equally good is the sophisticated sound of "Who Am I" awash in a supper club atmosphere. On all these songs, Rosey successfully channels vocal icons,
but on "I Remember," she instinctively keeps sliding into pop, rather ruining the carefully crafted mood of the song. The title track is even worse, an uneasy mix of jazz and soft pop. And soon Rosey's real roots are showing as the album draws to a close with a trio of unabashedly pop ballads, just the kind with which she made her name. Still, you can't fault an artist for attempting to grow, even if it's with some fits and starts. Overall her optimistic lyrics show real maturity, while the melodies, by and large, are strong. And it says much about the strength of her performances and material that listeners will appreciate the arrangements, while ruing Rosey wasn't singing before an actual big band.