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Pop - Released April 2, 1992 | RCA Records Label

Those expecting Annie Lennox to come out full-guns-blazing for her solo debut, Diva, with the high energy electro-Europop-meets-American- R&B of her Eurythmics work may be mildly disappointed. The enigmatic vocalist who made a career toying with different notions of gender plays on the concept of fame here -- Lennox dresses up in the persona of a solitary Diva trapped by counterfeit glory. Although the music is strangely muted and understated, the framework offers an effective stage for Lennox's husky voice, showcasing her as much more of a chanteuse than in the past. In fact, the album almost works best as one integrated mood piece rather than a collection of individual songs. Lennox succeeds in carving out a personality distinct from her Eurythmics days with Diva. © Roch Parisien /TiVo

Pop - Released March 6, 2009 | RCA Records Label


Pop - Released February 24, 1995 | RCA Records Label

The critics savaged Annie Lennox's sophomore effort when it first came out, and it's easy to see why: it's not that an all-covers album was a bad idea, but she did pick some rather large shoes to fill and she did kind of run roughshod over the songs themselves, taking gritty material by the likes of Neil Young and the Clash and turning it into super-slick electro-pop ear candy. But on the other hand, candy sometimes really hits the spot, and Lennox's rendition of "No More I Love You's" by the ultra-obscure British pop band the Lover Speaks is ravishingly, heartbreakingly lovely. Those who have never heard the Clash's original version of "Train in Vain" might not find her version as objectionable as the critics did, either. But there's no arguing with the critics when it comes to her anemic take on the Al Green classic "Take Me to the River" or her equally numb rendition of Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down." Those who have given up on looking cool, however, might find themselves able to enjoy her gentle arrangement of "A Whiter Shade of Pale." Don't pay full price for this, but snap it up if you find it in a bargain bin somewhere. © Rick Anderson /TiVo

Pop - Released May 30, 2003 | RCA Records Label

It's been eight years since Medusa, Annie Lennox's last studio album, was released. It's been 11 since her debut solo effort and five since the short-lived Eurythmics reunion. And while she may not be prolific, Lennox is always enigmatic. Bare is a collection of self-penned tracks, as the artist explains in the liners: "This album contains songs that are deeply personal and emotional. In a sense I have 'exposed' myself through the work to reveal aspects of an inner world that are fragile...broken through experience but not entirely smashed. I am not a young artist in their (sic) twenties. I am a mature woman facing up to the failed expectations of life and facing up to 'core' issues." Sound pretentious? One listen proves that Lennox lives up to her claims in spades. Here are 11 wholly -- even infectiously -- accessible, lyrically savvy, and gorgeously wrought pop songs full of spiritual and emotional depth that make for a deeply moving whole. On Bare, soul, adult contemporary, subtle yet unmistakable pop hooks, and an elegant use of electronic soundscapes converge in song styles to create not a tapestry, but a work of such interwoven depth that its only visual counterpart would be a fine Persian carpet. On "Wonderful," the refrain brings a Hall & Oates-styled Philly soul refrain to one of Lennox's trademark ballads constructed from repetitive fingerpicked electric guitar lines, a simple rhythm-machine loop, and gentle synth washes in the background. But it's in the lyrical paradox where the grain of her voice goes straight for a truth and need that the listener almost feels she's peeled off one layer too many -- not hers, ours: "I wanna hold you/And be so held back/Don't wanna need you/But it's where I'm at/Thinkin' about you every day/How come I was made that way...God it makes me so blue/Every time I think about you/All of the heat of my desire/Smokin' like some crazy fire/Come on here/Look at me/Where I stand/Can't you see my heart burning in my hands?/Do you want me? Do you not?" The previous track is a guitar-kissed ballad with limpid choruses that sear with the truth of having believed -- perhaps willingly -- each lie a lover ever told; it is destined to be played in every post-midnight, brokenhearted, half-empty bedroom for decades to come. And though the previous examples come from near the middle of the album, they don't begin to tell the whole story, as each track fits hand in glove with another. It not only can be taken as a whole, it must be, for it rains down on the heart of the listener with such a fierce life force, despite the depleted spirit exhibited in many of the cuts. There are no more words for the ravaged, triumphant Bare -- the truth of its fineness and devastating beauty is in the hearing. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Pop - Released September 27, 2007 | RCA Records Label

Four albums in 15 years is not exactly prolific when it comes to making records. But Annie Lennox has never been one to rush things, and her recorded output as a solo artist in life after the Eurythmics has been stellar. The last time she issued a recording in 2003 with Bare, a collection of deeply committed emotional songs that set a new standard for her artistically, though they were written in the turmoil following her second divorce. Perhaps the reason she hasn't had the time to record is her activism. She's involved herself in causes that range from her primary concern, raising awareness about AIDS/HIV (and she refers to this in the album's notes), to the environment and poverty. But Songs of Mass Destruction isn't a political album by any means, unless the personal is -- and often it is. This is another album of love songs; dark love songs. These are breakup ballads, statuesque embers of pain and rage that have simmered down to the traces of that dull ache of emptiness that always exists in the aftermath of something profound. The production is characteristically slick, and Lennox is in excellent voice -- it's always startling to hear something new from her simply because that voice is so singular, it becomes a part of the listener no matter what she's signing. Most of what's here is adult-oriented, sophisticated pop. That's nothing to apologize for. The keyboard- and drum-drenched set has all sorts of texture to keep it from being formulaic, such as the accordion on "Ghost in My Machine," which is a rocking number. "Love Is Blind" begins with an acoustic piano and a slide guitar quietly rumbling behind it, though it's a suicide ballad turned inside out. When Lennox opens her mouth, it's all blues scorch wither, letting that big voice wrap itself around some harrowing lines like "I got so much trouble getting in to this/Can't decide if it's hell or bliss/Sometimes I feel like I don't exist/Cut my veins and slit my wrists/Goodbye/Goodbye...Can't you see that I'm so addicted/To the notion of a someone/Who could take me from this wretched state/Save me from the bitterness and hatred of humanity/I'm so screwed up." But she's not pleading; she's declaring, testifying with searing honesty. On the track "Sing," she has donated all proceeds to an AIDS charity TAC (Treatment Action Committee) and enlisted a host of women to sing in a choir who will likely not be heard in the same place again: Beth Gibbons, Madonna, Celine Dion, Beth Orton, Angélique Kidjo, Shakira, Sarah McLachlan, Faith Hill, Fergie, Beverley Knight, Martha Wainwright, k.d. lang, Shingai Shoniwa, KT Tunstall, Bonnie Raitt, Dido, Gladys Knight, Anastacia, and Melissa Etheridge. It's another huge feminist anthem, with a killer hook, a big bad soul/gospel refrain, and a beat that, once it gets into the spine, will not be easily dismissed. But the ballads here are as profound and deep as the big production numbers. The opener, with its lilting Celtic flavor, is devastatingly beautiful and sad. "Smithereens," with its languid piano treading so lightly, offers the singer once more bearing heart and soul in a kind of vulnerability that accepts responsibility as well as lays blame: "Behind the victim/Behind the trouble/Of all the things you've not expressed...So don't make me sad/I couldn't stand to watch you fall/'Cause everybody has a tender heart/Remember this/I didn't mean to break it down to smithereens." "Womankind" is a funky soul number offering wishes that perhaps many women wish for (though men do too), though its expression of raw need and desire may piss off a few of its intended recipients. The track is a bona fide single, though. It's colored by the exotic ballad "Through a Glass Darkly," looking through the mirror of life in the true self, with its cyclical coming together and splitting apart, which is realized utterly in "Lost." "Coloured Bedspread" revisits the electronic beat pop of the Eurythmics. The skeletal toy-sounding piano and cheap drum machine in "Big Sky" is lifted by the power of Lennox's voice and her backing vocalists before it breaks into big fat warm loops, and Lennox digging deep into her soul book for the melody. Anita Baker, eat your heart out. The set closes with the elegant, complex, and confident ballad "Fingernail Moon," which is sung alone in the emptiness of the night sky, bearing the entirety of disappointment, the smallness of humanity in the universe -- no matter how much we think we're the center of it. The sadness in the song is also confessional and speaks to bewilderment and ultimately becomes a prayer when she sings, "I feel so sad/There's something unsettling under my skin/I don't know the reason or where to begin/Caught in the circles I've found myself in/But I want to reach out and touch you/My sweet sickle moon." Songs of Mass Destruction can be heard as a melancholy part two of Bare, but one feels after repeated listening that Lennox is not only speaking of her own experiences in life and love, but those of her sisters, and the human condition at large, when focused on in the first person, becomes somewhat palatable and embraceable by a third party. It's as gorgeous a collection as Bare, and pop music should be so lucky as to have more of this kind of thing out in the world. She may not be prolific, but she is always profound, and to date has always delivered the very best she's had to offer, which is, in this case, as well as her other recordings, plentiful and magnificent. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Most artists treat Christmas albums as toss-offs; something to get into the marketplace and have on the shelf when punters come in and snap up the holiday offerings. There is usually little forethought, production and arrangements are entrusted to studio stalwarts who paint by numbers. Annie Lennox doesn't fit this mold remotely. She considered a Christmas Cornucopia with all the intuitive care and devotion her other studio albums reflect. Lennox spent much of her youth singing in choirs, and that is reflected in both the song selection (all but one of these she sang as a child in choir) and arrangements. Working once more with producer Mike Stevens (who also helmed the sessions for her last offering, 2007's Songs of Mass Destruction), Lennox recorded many of the choral vocals herself by overdubbing. The pair did employ a 30-piece orchestra; they also recorded the African Children's Choir who are prominently featured throughout, especially on "The Holly and the Ivy" and the French carol "Il Est de le Divin Enfant." Textures and atmospheres are the name of the game in these interpretations, and they're employed in unusual ways: note the Middle Eastern rhythms and modalities on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" that collide -- albeit harmoniously -- with Celtic pipe, flute, and accordion sounds. It's a fantastic track, though it does engender a minor complaint: why on earth would a vocalist of Lennox's caliber use Auto-Tune even momentarily? Other standouts here include the majestic "The Holly and the Ivy," the sparse instrumentation on "In the Bleak Midwinter," and the the dramatic darkness in the obscure carol "Lullay Lullay" that tells the Christian story of King Herod's infanticide in trying to eliminate the threat posed by the Christ child. "Silent Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem" are given wonderful arrangements and sung with a sincerity approaching absolute devotion, especially with the African Children's Choir underscoring Lennox's voice. The lone original here, "Universal Child," is the lead single (proceeds are being donated to the Annie Lennox Foundation); it's a beautifully written and arranged pop song, delivered soulfully and enigmatically; it is worth the price of the album itself. A Christmas Cornucopia is a real contender for best Christmas album of 2010. © Thom Jurek /TiVo


Annie Lennox in the magazine
  • A Christmas Cornucopia!
    A Christmas Cornucopia! Released in 2010, this Christmas album by the famous Eurythmics singer is back in 2020 as a remastered version. For an English-speaking pop singer, it is common to offer a "Christmas album" once in their career. But, true to her temperament, Annie Lennox wanted to shake up the often traditional a...