Four out of Five Stars
In the interest of full disclosure, this reviewer has a confession to make. I’m an unabashed fan of Joan Armatrading’s work and have been since the beginning. An exceptional artist, she mines the core of human emotions in ways relatable to all, while sharing those sentiments with a determined delivery that leaves no doubt as to the sentiments that she shares. She’s been plying her craft for the better part of 50 years, leaving a succession of indelible songs in her wake—“Walk Under Layers,” “Willow,” “Me, Myself, I,” “I Love it When You Call Me Names,” “The Weakness in Me” and “Down to Zero,” among them—as well as any number of well-deserved honors that include three Grammy nominations, two BRIT Awards nominations, an Ivor Novello Award win, selection as a Commander of the British Empire, and special commendation as a Lifetime Achievement honoree that came courtesy of the Americana Music Association.
With her 20th album, Consequences, Armatrading shows that her skills and savvy remain intact. “Already There,” “To Be There,” “Glorious Madness,” and “Think About Me” touch on subjects spawned from the human heart, specifically, the yearning and longing that dwell in very specific romantic realms. Every day seems like a weekend when you’re around, she coos expressively on “To Be Loved,” as poignant a love song as ever shared by any artist. When you hold me tight and call my name I know what it’s like to be loved.
That said, Consequences offers no shortage of rhythm-ready offerings, which ensure the enthusiasm remains at a constant peak. “Natural Rhythm,” “Like” and “Better Life” peak at a steady pace, bringing while also to mind such aforementioned classics as “Me, Myself, I” and “I Love it When You Call Me Names,” reflecting the opposite ends of an energy spectrum that allows her listeners to share in the festive circumstance. That, again, is testimony to Armatrading’s talent and tenacity, and all the more reason why she’s so deserving of the success that accompanies superstardom.
Consider that a rightful result and exceptional Consequences indeed.