Annie Lennox

More than 25 years on — ten spent at the helm of the Eurhythmics, the rest following a solo trajectory — Annie Lennox remains one of pop music's most distinctive divas. Her credence stems not only from her beguiling vocals, clearly among the best in the biz, but also from an androgynous persona that ultimately defies delineation. So don't be fooled by its seemingly ominous title; this, her fifth and possibly best solo album, provides a remarkably vibrant platform for her iridescent delivery. Lennox proves she's a master when it comes to spinning rich tapestries of mood and melody, then melding them to a sound that's somehow both searing and seductive. Gliding her voice from a shimmer to a quiver, she slides over producer Glen Ballard's lush, atmospheric arrangements, transforming soulful ballads "Dark Road," "Smithereens," and "Lost" into a series of effusive emotive outpours. "Love Is Blind," "Ghosts in My Machine," and "Womankind" smolder with sensuality and tenacity, her voice soaring into its upper registers one moment before locking emphatically into the music's rousing rhythms the next. Although some of the tracks revisit Eurhythmics environs — "Coloured Bedspread" unabashedly replays "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" — Songs' songs provide exceptional additions to an already-stellar set list.

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