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Rumer, ‘Seasons Of My Soul’ – album review

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There’s no better feeling than hearing a song which takes you back to your childhood, or any particularly joyful or emotionally significant time of your life; several tracks do just that for me, usually by such artists as The Beatles, Nilsson, Crowded House and Cliff Richard…oh yes, I do enjoy a bit of the Barbados dweller.

Another such artist or specifically, voice, would have to be Karen Carpenter. And herein lies my appreciation and excitement for a similarly vocally gifted female, who goes by the name of Rumer.

Rumer, real name Sarah Joyce (born 1979, Pakistan) was discovered by American composer and music producing legend Burt Bacharach, who was so impressed with the voice he heard that he flew her to California so that he could hear the instrument in person…imagine getting that call! I’ve always loved Bacharach’s work; producing countless hit songs and compositions for the likes of Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield. With a musical icon such as this on your side, the future could only look positively blinding for the British Soul singer-songwriter.

Rumer’s debut albumSeasons Of My Soul’ was released in early November 2010 and has spent the subsequent weeks firmly rooted in the top ten of the UK Albums Chart, whilst the number of positive commentaries from critics continues to flourish. The eleven-track record includes debut single ‘Slow‘ and recently released second single ‘Aretha‘ and is to put it simply; a listener’s utopia. Each track possesses an almost tranquilizing quality; as Rumer’s vocal tone, combined with the misty melodies, evoke a sense of basking for the ears.

The similarities between Rumer and Karen Carpenter are strikingly evident and unlike other critical comparisons, this oneΒ  I feel is both justified and relevant. It tends to annoy me when I hear people described as “…the next x/y/z” as I don’t really see the point of such comparisons; new artists should offer something different, something exciting, not simply a replica of what has gone before. I understand why the music industry bills people as such however; it helps the music-buying public to identify the type of artists that they might like, but I often find this not to be the case when all is said and done. You tend to simply be left disappointed by a slightly below par version of an already established singer or band and when you start with a negative, it’s difficult to turn that around. Or maybe I’m just too hard to please…?!

The album artwork echoes the notion of childhood memories and the part that music clearly had to play in those memories for Rumer. Kicking off with ‘Am I Forgiven‘, the record sets its stall out perfectly from the outset; the track is classic soul with Bacharach-style hints of jazz flavourings throughout, as Rumer speaks about such trademark subjects of the genre – heartbreak, regret, inner emotional turmoil…it’s all good stuff, people! ‘Slow‘ is a definite album highlight and it is clear to see why this track was chosen to introduce Rumer to the music-buying public. The title of the track is literal in its reference to the pace and mood of the lyrics and melody, which is precisely what makes it so addictive in its ability to soothe and seduce.

Take Me As I Amis one of my particular favourites from the album. I like the simplicity yet significance of the track’s sentiment; Rumer asks that she, or rather the subject of the piece, be accepted for who she is, if the love she refers to is indeed unconditional. A simple concept, yet at times seemingly the hardest thing in the world to communicate; then again, perhaps the very fact that you have to explain this concept to your betrothed signifies that you’ve gone past the point of no return? Who knows; I do like to analyse lyrics to within an inch of their lives! ‘Aretha‘ is an moody ode to Aretha Franklin; one of Rumer’s idols and greatest inspirations. Rumer felt that Aretha; or rather her music, was the only thing that she could turn to during family troubles at home. The result is a highly polished performance, showcasing her vocal capabilities to perfection. This would be a great Sunday afternoon track to lounge around to, or perhaps a relaxing soundtrack to a long, otherwise uneventful journey.

Any of the tracks could be future singles; I also particularly like ‘Thankful‘ and ‘On My Way Home.’ Rumer has recently collaborated with Bacharach and playwright Steven Sater, on a record entitled ‘Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas.’ This special one-off release will hit the shops and online on December 13th, 2010. I think I’ll surely be chomping on some festive turkey to the sounds of this winning compilation.

All in all, a delectably dulcet debut from an artist which I am very much looking forward to hearing more from. The late, great Karen Carpenter would surely agree.

To find out more about Rumer, to catch a live show or to listen to more tracks please visit:


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

November 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

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