Vonda Shepard

The Radical Light

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The Radical Light is pleasant but unremarkable. There are signs of promise in Vonda Shepard's vocals and songwriting, but it gets lost in overly long songs that, by the end of the album, all sound pretty much the same. Although Shepard's music is definitely pop, it's frequently tinged with a gospel-blues sound. Those moments are when the album is at its best. Shepard's voice is well suited to soul-filled styles. Lyrically, Shepard can't be accused of being pessimistic. The album is soaked in encouragement: "You don't have to be alone" ("The Radical Light"), "All of the joy for which you pray/ Is closer than you think" ("100 Tears Away"), "You better be good to yourself" ("Good to Yourself"). Unfortunately, the rampant encouragement is just not enough to raise this album above mediocrity.

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