Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Best Albums of the '90s | SLANT Magazine


98. Vanessa Daou, Zipless. It's a small victory that Vanessa Daou was able to sneak "Near the Black Forest," writer Eric Jong's ode to her untended bush, onto VH1's playlist for a short spell. Daou's is a whisper of a singing voice, and her husband's jazz-house compositions would have been a challenge for any pop radio programmer, but more importantly, the content of Zipless, Daou's interpretations of Jong's poetry, was far too sophisticated for general audiences. The lyrical and musical centerpiece of the album is the entirely spoken-word "Alcestis on the Poetry Circuit"; in her understanding of how restraint, imposed both from within and from without ("The very fact of her gift should cause her such pain/That she will take her own life rather than best us"), is countered by the discovery or renewal of one's sense of self, Daou empowers both herself and her listeners. SC 

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