Julie Budd

Pure Imagination

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Julie Budd's latest album is one of the most enjoyable pop recordings of recent years. Her voice is alternately touching and sensual, deeply affecting and playfully sassy, on songs ranging from the moody title tune to the playful "If I Were a Bell." She fills a yawning chasm of wistfulness with warmth on "Never Never Land" from Peter Pan, and conveys quiet, intense yearning in "Looking Through the Eyes of Love." Her interpretations of chestnuts like "I've Got a Crush on You," "It Don't Mean a Thing," and "Let's Fall In Love" are equally impressive, adding fresh, expressive wrinkles that make them seem new again in these performances. The album has a mood of melancholy that is perhaps a little too strong, but overall, this is a richly rewarding hour's listening, many times over, in myriad hues and tones.

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