Thursday, 8 March 2012

Diana Ross - Diana Ross (1976)

With a seemless persona often depriving her of a concentration on the music, Diana Ross was born to sing and with only 44 albums released if only she had worked a bit harder in her career. Unfalteringly glamourous, never less than mildly enjoyable, Diana Ross (1976) is one of her great ones. The lush, accentuated settings are what her warm timbre was made for. The exhaustion of love songs means some numbers seem blurred into the next, but her bright, direct intonation injects her uniquely gifted guile that intensifies their meaning. Her voice is a rich instrument that is precise and really does know where it's going to.

Recognizable for its syrupy opening refrain, Theme From Mahogany explores a tempo or marching drums, strings as lush as life itself and a spirited vocal that sounds like a bridge of sighs. Somber, sweet and sensual, I Thought It Took A Little Time is air-kiss soul at its sugary finest. Ross's languid crooning possesses a joyous restraint. Breathlessly inviting, the pouting excursion Love Hangover is an exacting and intoxicating showcase for the sultry abilities of Diana's exquisite characterization. A relay of disco speeds take the song from the bedroom to the dance-floor: and if already on the dance-floor, the acceleration into disco is most certainly bedroom-bound.  Suddenly taking a different swerve (saying nothing of her drunk driving), into her local piano bar no doubt, she finds a speedier groove to her repertoire on the arch Kiss Me Now.  On You're Good My Child, Ms. Ross eats up the rhythms with a vocal flight and agility that's her unique effortless style.  Airbrushing her ex husbands from memory, One Love In My Lifetime is an eloquent masterstroke.  Pledging slow-motion devotion, After You handles the conflicts thrown at her with romantic steel.  Never one to say no to a romantic ballad, Smile might be a touch too show biz for its own good, but I just can't say no. Country-tinged Sorry Doesn't Always Make It Right is another love vow.

With a voice that refuses to suffer, for the vivacious Diana Ross there ain't no high note high enough. Embellishing every sylable and making the words sparkle into sequins, she was hardly scaring Aretha into retirement with her range, but as a singer her timing is perfect. The proof is in her projection: she soaks up her accentuated settings; her lush vox framed to perfection.



QH said...

"Kiss Me Now" is big fun. Her pastiche numbers like this always worked because she put them in real arrangements that were authentic to be believable, but somehow still fantasy driven. "I Thought It Took a Little Time..." is one of, if not, my favorite Diana moment committed to record & there are many contenders. A short, but sweet entry here. Good work.-QH

Diva Incarnate said...

For me, sometimes less is more - especially if I'm not that familiar with the work. I got sent a physical copy of the re-release (lovely packaging) and so had to hastily cook something up. I thought the record was wonderful.

QH said...

Hip-O-Select has done her Motown work that was OOP justice.-QH