Perhaps Paula Cole’s always been an SJW; go listen to her Harbinger debut; but she’s never manifested her advocacy to this degree. The war cry begins right out the gate with a call to action in the form of a bombastic speech by what sounds like an old black man. “We are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness,” he says before revealing the Revolution as a way to bring about a world utopia of “love”.
For Cole, it seems to have more to do with contemporary feminism; Shake The Sky calls for the uprising of women while Silent serves as an anthem for the so-called Me Too Movement; though she also takes on racism and other political issues. Still the album isn’t as musically radical as the aforementioned Intro might lead you to believe. Most of it sounds like Paula Cole, whatever that’s worth these days.
my rating : 3 of 5
Courage? I don’t know. Paula Cole decided to play it safe on this album. What we get, after nearly eight years, is a woman who’s mature and sophisticated, relatively stable even, in contrast to the church girl who got lost in religious babble (Amen) or the Lilith who threatened to bite off the head of her housemate’s penis with This Fire.
That latter set, easily her best, is what made the world fall in Love with her in the first place and we do get a small puff of that fiery edge here. She goes into her signature bawl at the end of the first single, another breakup ballad, entitled 14. “This mighty woman’s ready to explode,” she warns, though the “volcano” never actually erupts.
Still this prettier version of Cole who prefers sweeping jazz arrangements and lite reggae over bitchy rock anthems remains a talent. Even given these romantic themes, her voice is smoother than ever and she still has a knack for the kind of ballsy vocal melodies you don’t hear much in the brave new world of pop music.
my rating : 3 of 5
release date : 2021 May 21