audio review : Courage ( album ) … Paula Cole

audio review : Courage ( album ) ... Paula Cole

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