Introducing Darlene Love
By now we all know the rather heart-breaking story of Darlene Love – as told through the prism of 20 Feet From Stardom; voice of a couple of huge hit singles, no authorship, no rights, no career…there she is in the film cleaning houses, hearing her songs – better known as “Phil Spector Productions” on the radio while she works.
So Introducing Darlene Love is a “comeback” of sorts, an aim to announce this great – “lost” – talent.
It’s well-meaning, at least until the opening track. From there producer and regular collaborator Steven Van Zandt sets the production to overload. And keeps at it across an album that appears to have all of the bombast. If you’ve been looking for the bombast it’s here – right here, all here, not even hiding. It’s bouncing about around songs written by other super-fans (Springsteen, Costello) all well-meaning but ultimately running at E Street Band-full throttle. Nothing dynamic and not much that’s interesting.
Love’s in fine enough voice. But she can’t do a lot with what’s here. It’s all trying too hard – all of the time. It’s all huge, or trying to be. And there’s nothing for her to work with, she simply has to belt it out. And when she aims to not quite belt it out (Love Kept Us Foolin’ Around) the band/production does that job for her. Big. Loud. Unsubtle.
It all amounts to a wasted opportunity.
Well-meaning. But there’s nothing to hear here. Stick to the original sides she cut in the sixties. There’s magic there – even if she’s not receiving a penny for her hand in that trick.