Five years ago, Shawn Colvin’s A Few Small Repairs garnered all the praise it deserved.
On that album, Colvin covered a spectrum of moods, hopping from quiet piano ballads to up-front rockers and back again. A Few Small Repairs always seemed to hint at coming apart but never did.
Colvin and long-time collaborator John Leventhal made an album that was a hard act to follow.
On A Whole New You, Colvin keeps the mood pretty mellow. The album’s opener, the haunting “Matter of Minutes,” pretty much establishes the tenor for the remainder of the disc.
Leventhal has seen fit to drench the album in a sea of ethereal effects. No track seems to be free from a shimmering electric piano or a guitar tremolo quietly rippling in the background.
With a bit more reverb, “Bonefields”, “Another Plane Went Down” and “Mr. Levon” could have come straight from an Angelo Badalamanti movie score.
Certainly, Colvin picks up the pace now and again with the album’s title track and “Bound to You”, this album’s version of “Get Out of This House.”
But for the most part, A Whole New You is a decidedly quiet affair.
That doesn’t answer the question: is A Few Small Repairs such a tough act for A Whole New You to follow?
Colvin and Leventhal, who co-wrote the album, have still managed to gather a collection of listener-friendly adult pop.
It’s not hard for “Roger Wilco”, “Another Plane Went Down Today” or “One Small Year” to nudge themselves into a listener’s subconscious.
Beautiful, gorgeous, lovely — all the pretty and polite adjectives apply to A Whole New You, and the target market of triple-A radio will more than likely find themselves using these words.
And for some of us who like our music a bit more grotesque, A Whole New You is still a nice listen.