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Rickie Lee Jones
Balm in Gilead - FANTASY
FILTER Grade: 87%

By Paul Zollo on February 26, 2010


Rickie Lee Jones

This is greatness: an album of beauty and consequence in an age of increasing ugliness and inconsequence. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of it is the vast range of emotion expressed, from deepest sorrow to pure exultation. There’s the astounding “Bonfires,” a poignantly loving heartbreak song in which the singer burns everything she has, yet sings to “the sweetest boy I know,” which makes the truth of her pain so much more palpable. The other extreme is “Wild Girl,” which starts as a song of memory of wildness and morphs into a song of celebration, both for her daughter’s 21st birthday and her own parental triumph, framed by a knowing, haunting melody. Jones’ duet with Ben Harper on “Old Enough” is about genuine joy, the kind that comes from knowing all we’ve lived through to get to this place. And there’s much more. This is one not to be missed, kissed with the promise that beauty and depth in songs still matters.

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