K.d. Lang Reviews

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Hymns of the 49th Parallel

Review Over the last twenty years, k.d. lang has lent her superb voice to an astonishing range of material, from Nashville standards to Tin Pan Alley torch songs, from cow punk tunes to sultry, adult pop- most recently her Grammy-winning gold album with Tony Bennett, "Wonderful world." With Hymns of the 49th Parallel, the Alberta native brings it all back home, metaphorically speaking, exploring the work of her favorite Canadian-born songwriters: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Ron Sexsmith and Jane Siberry. On this lovingly assembled disc she juxtaposes classics from iconic artists who were her inspirations with equally brillant material from contemporary performers who reamin her fellow travelers.
Recollection (2CD)

Review Was it homesickness that compelled longtime Los Angeles resident k.d. lang to fashion her one-woman campaign for north-of-the-border nationalism, or just plain good sense? All Canadian content has long been a mainstay of the Canadian Broadcasting System, but few have selected their material with such a fine hand and a high aesthetic. The expatriate singer has taken great pains to create a sophisticated homage to her Canadian roots, elegantly reinterpreting 11 songs penned by some of her more illustrious countrymen (and women) such as Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen. The idiosyncratic chanteuse turns Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" into an aching monochromatic lament, exploring new tributaries of pain that didn't exist in the original, while recasting Neil Young's "Helpless" into a haunting anthem of memory and comfort, all the while sounding anything but helpless. A gorgeous love letter to her brethren, complete with an intelligent and understated orchestration. --Jaan Uhelszki
A Wonderful World

Review Nonesuch releases k.d. lang's Ingénue: 25th Anniversary Edition to celebrate the double platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning album's silver anniversary. This new two-disc set includes remastered versions of the album's original ten tracks, including its huge hit "Constant Craving," along with eight previously unreleased performances from lang's 1993 MTV Unplugged episode, recorded in New York City's famed Ed Sullivan Theater.
Ingenue

Review k.d. lang is a once-in-a-generation artist who has consistently displayed an extraordinary interpretative range as well as remarkable vocal prowess. It's no wonder she has, over the course of more than two decades, attracted such collaborators as Roy Orbison and Tony Bennett, along with admirers like Philip Glass and Madonna. As lang has matured, she continues to surprise and impress. With the 2008 release of her self-penned, self-produced Nonesuch disc Watershed, Rolling Stone declared, "k.d. lang does what the gifted and the lucky always should: improve as time passes." The Times of London agreed: "It's a quirk of the music industry that one of the sexiest, most sensual voices in all of pop music comes not from some raven-tressed siren in a glitter-dress but a middle-aged woman with a utility haircut and a penchant for male tailoring." lang herself called the album "a culmination of everything I've done -- there's a little bit of jazz, a little country, a little of the Ingénue sound, a little Brazilian touch."

This two-disc retrospective -- which includes favorites like "Constant Craving" and "Smoke Rings," as well as ten tracks that never appeared on k.d. lang albums; and interpretations of classic songs like Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and The Hollies "The Air That I Breathe" -- illustrates how lang got to this significant point in her career, 25 years after the independent release of her debut, A Truly Western Experience. As lang moved from the subversively whimsical cow-punk sound of her early career in Western Canada to a broader pop palette, she has shown an ever-increasing sophistication, both as songwriter and interpreter. Dramatic, country-meets-lounge opener "Trail of Broken Hearts," from her 1989 Grammy Award-winning Absolute Torch and Twang album, encapsulates where she came from and where she was heading. The luxurious adult pop of "Constant Craving," from the platinum-selling 1992 Ingenue, garnered her a Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female Grammy and remains her best known and most successful single. The effervescent "Miss Chatelaine," also from Ingenue, remains a concert favorite and "I Dream of Spring," is a particularly lush example of what she so artfully created for the acclaimed Watershed.

Her bravura rendition of "Crying," originally cut with Orbison for the soundtrack to the movie Hiding Out, has become a showstopper in her live performances, perhaps rivaled only be her beautifully restrained version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." This soaring signature tune appears here as both a new recording, and in its original studio version. On her 2004 Nonesuch debut, Hymns of the 49th Parallel, she explored the work of her fellow Canadian songwriters, including Neil Young ("Helpless") and the woefully underrated Jane Siberry (the sublime "The Valley"). Regardless of its source, her choice of cover material has always been inspired, as evidenced by her take on the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe," Joni Mitchell's "Help Me," the Beatles' Golden Slumbers," and Chris Isaak's "Western Stars," produced by Nashville legend Owen Bradley, Patsy Cline's mentor, for Shadowlands. lang is equally adept with such standards as Cole Porter's "Love For Sale" and "So In Love," and the jazz classic Moonglow" (performed here with Tony Bennett), and that has endeared her to a multi-generational audience.
Shadowland by K. D. Lang (1990)

Review Certified twice platinum by the RIAA. (5/96)
Original Album Series

Review The album on which she officially gave up on Nashville and began singing torchy, adult-contemporary pop, Ingenue has been referred to by lang as her "stalker" album for its emphasis on songs about desire and obsession. Despite such onerous implications, the album is a charmer, thanks to lang's sincerity and passion and the smoldering arrangements of songs such as "Constant Craving," "The Mind of Love" and "Still Thrives This Love." The album's somewhat dark spirits are tempered by the campy "Miss Chatelaine," which lang has often performed live to the accompaniment of a Lawrence Welk-style bubble machine. With Ingenue, you can do the same in the comfort of your own home. --Daniel Durchholz
Watershed

Review 5CD set. Collects five of her original albums, in card LP replica sleeves! Features "Angel With A Lariat" (1987), "Shadowland" (1988), "Absolute Torch & Twang" (1989), "Ingenue" (1992) and "All You Can Eat" (1995).
Live by Request

Review 1988 album fts "western stars"
Absolute Torch & Twang

Review Pulling out all the Nashville stops, k.d. lang's 1988 album is a meticulously crafted work, her bid for mainstream country acceptance, and an homage to her idol Patsy Cline. Surrounded by the brilliance of Owen Bradley's string-laced production and a host of legendary pickers (Buddy Emmons and Pete Wade) and singers (Kitty Wells, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn), lang's voice soars and moans like a dove. After the lush Chris Isaak-penned opener "Western Stars," lang follows with more-familiar country writers, from Roger Miller ("Lock, Stock and Teardrops") to Harlan Howard ("I'm Down to My Last Cigarette"). Both a commercial (the album went gold) and artistic success, Shadowland ranks as one of the best country records of the 1980s. --Roy Francis Kasten
Sing It Loud

Review This 1989 album was k.d. lang's generous farewell to the country music world that had given her the cold shoulder after her stellar collaboration with legendary producer Owen Bradley on Shadowland. Songs such as "Pulling Back the Reins"--written by lang with coproducer-guitarist Ben Mink--combined classic country and western imagery with more revealingly personal emotions. At the same time, the album maintained a sly sense of humor missing from much of her later work. The covers of Willie Nelson ("Three Days") and Wynn Stewart ("Big Big Love") certainly don't hurt. The Reclines, lang's band, is notable for the presence of Greg Leisz on steel guitar. -Rick Mitchell
Ingénue (25th Anniversary Edition)(2CD)

Review Big band crooner Tony Bennett and adult contemporary star k.d. lang initially seemed like an odd pairing for touring partners in the 1990s, especially given their age difference and separate audiences, but a hit duet and tour later nobody could doubt that they make beautiful music together.
Ingénue (25th Anniversary Edition)(2CD)

Review Nonesuch Records releases k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang's Sing it Loud on April 12, 2011. Produced by lang and Joe Pisapia, it is the award-winning singer-songwriter's first record made entirely with a band of her own since the pair of albums with the Reclines that launched her groundbreaking career over 20 years ago.
This collection of songs reflects the organic, collaborative nature of the sessions, which took place at Pisapia's Middletree Studios in Nashville. Many of the songs were recorded live in the studio and that energy is palpable. The lead single "I Confess" is one of three songs lang penned with keyboardist Daniel Clarke and Joshua Grange, who plays baritone guitar and dobro. In addition to the original material, Sing it Loud includes a striking version of Talking Heads' "Heaven." Pisapia, who plays numerous instruments and serves as the band's musical director, contributed the title track and co-wrote five songs with lang. Bassist Lex Price (Mindy Smith, Peter Bradley Adams) and drummer/percussionist Fred Eltringham (The Wallflowers) complete the lineup.
Sing it Loud is lang's first studio album since 2008's Watershed, which debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200. In 2010, she marked the 25th anniversary of her recording debut with Recollection, a career retrospective.
The Music...The Mem'ries...The Magic!

Review Watershed, K.D. Lang’s second Nonesuch album, indeed represents a significant juncture in her 25-year career as a recording artist-a collection of eleven new original songs produced, for the first time, by Lang herself. As with any challenge she’s met in her unparalleled career, lang is a natural behind the boards in the studio. Watershed has an intimate feel and a sophisticated sound that highlights the warmth in Lang’s voice, the maturity of her songwriting and the simple beauty of her arrangements. The Grammy Award-winning artist draws on her wealth of experience with an impressively wide range of genres to fashion a revealing portrait of the artist as she is right now. As Lang explains, "Watershed is like a culmination of everything I’ve done — there’s a little bit of jazz, a little country, a little of the Ingénue sound, a little Brazilian touch. It really feels like the way I hear music, this mash-up of genres, and I think it reflects all the styles that have preceded this in my catalogue."

K.D. Lang Photos
More from K.D. Lang

Watershed Deluxe Limited Edition

Hymns of the 49th Parallel

Ingénue

Shadowland

Live by Request (2001)

Absolute Torch and Twang

Drag

All You Can Eat

Reintarnation [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]

Live by Request [LIVE]

Invincible Summer

A Truly Western Experience [EXTRA TRACKS]


Release: Further Listening 2001-2004 (3CD)

Review Watershed is the first major project from celebrated Canadian chanteuse k.d. lang since 2004's Hymns of the 49th Parallel. Where Hymns explored the music of fellow Canadians such as Ron Sexsmith, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Watershed represents the first set of original songs from lang in around eight years. Self-produced and arranged by musicians she has worked with a lot in the past, the most striking aspect of the album is its intimate, homely feel. Adding to the cozy ambience is the fact that Watershed brings most of lang's musical passions and influences--jazz, country, folk, bossa nova--under one roof, lending the project a dreamy, mellifluous coherence. But if the musical landscape is mellow and easy to traverse, Lang's lyrics can be less comfortable. Using her laid-back, often ethereal arrangements as sugar-candied coating for thornier topics, the singer serenades with stories of broken love, occasionally harsh self-analysis and the obligatory forays into existential angst. These contrastive elements only serve to make the album stronger, adding emotional weight to the airless arrangements of "Once in a While," and the delicate "Close Your Eyes," and conjuring up images of beauty on the string-laden "I Dream of Spring," and the wonderfully lazy "Sunday". Intelligent, mature and sophisticated, Watershed is the kind of perfect pop album it's difficult not to fall in love with immediately and forever. --Paul Sullivan
Nightlife: Further Listening 1996-2000 (3CD)

Review Over the last twenty years, k.d. lang has lent her superb voice to an astonishing range of material, from Nashville standards to Tin Pan Alley torch songs, from cow punk tunes to sultry, adult pop- most recently her Grammy-winning gold album with Tony Bennett, "Wonderful world." With Hymns of the 49th Parallel, the Alberta native brings it all back home, metaphorically speaking, exploring the work of her favorite Canadian-born songwriters: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Ron Sexsmith and Jane Siberry. On this lovingly assembled disc she juxtaposes classics from iconic artists who were her inspirations with equally brillant material from contemporary performers who reamin her fellow travelers.
Fundamental: Further Listening 2005-2007 (2CD)

Review Was it homesickness that compelled longtime Los Angeles resident k.d. lang to fashion her one-woman campaign for north-of-the-border nationalism, or just plain good sense? All Canadian content has long been a mainstay of the Canadian Broadcasting System, but few have selected their material with such a fine hand and a high aesthetic. The expatriate singer has taken great pains to create a sophisticated homage to her Canadian roots, elegantly reinterpreting 11 songs penned by some of her more illustrious countrymen (and women) such as Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen. The idiosyncratic chanteuse turns Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" into an aching monochromatic lament, exploring new tributaries of pain that didn't exist in the original, while recasting Neil Young's "Helpless" into a haunting anthem of memory and comfort, all the while sounding anything but helpless. A gorgeous love letter to her brethren, complete with an intelligent and understated orchestration. --Jaan Uhelszki
Yes: Further Listening 2008-2010 (2017 Remastered Version)(3CD)

Review Nonesuch releases k.d. lang's Ingénue: 25th Anniversary Edition to celebrate the double platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning album's silver anniversary. This new two-disc set includes remastered versions of the album's original ten tracks, including its huge hit "Constant Craving," along with eight previously unreleased performances from lang's 1993 MTV Unplugged episode, recorded in New York City's famed Ed Sullivan Theater.
Elysium: Further Listening 2011-2012 (2017 Remastered Version)(2CD)

Review k.d. lang is a once-in-a-generation artist who has consistently displayed an extraordinary interpretative range as well as remarkable vocal prowess. It's no wonder she has, over the course of more than two decades, attracted such collaborators as Roy Orbison and Tony Bennett, along with admirers like Philip Glass and Madonna. As lang has matured, she continues to surprise and impress. With the 2008 release of her self-penned, self-produced Nonesuch disc Watershed, Rolling Stone declared, "k.d. lang does what the gifted and the lucky always should: improve as time passes." The Times of London agreed: "It's a quirk of the music industry that one of the sexiest, most sensual voices in all of pop music comes not from some raven-tressed siren in a glitter-dress but a middle-aged woman with a utility haircut and a penchant for male tailoring." lang herself called the album "a culmination of everything I've done -- there's a little bit of jazz, a little country, a little of the Ingénue sound, a little Brazilian touch."

This two-disc retrospective -- which includes favorites like "Constant Craving" and "Smoke Rings," as well as ten tracks that never appeared on k.d. lang albums; and interpretations of classic songs like Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and The Hollies "The Air That I Breathe" -- illustrates how lang got to this significant point in her career, 25 years after the independent release of her debut, A Truly Western Experience. As lang moved from the subversively whimsical cow-punk sound of her early career in Western Canada to a broader pop palette, she has shown an ever-increasing sophistication, both as songwriter and interpreter. Dramatic, country-meets-lounge opener "Trail of Broken Hearts," from her 1989 Grammy Award-winning Absolute Torch and Twang album, encapsulates where she came from and where she was heading. The luxurious adult pop of "Constant Craving," from the platinum-selling 1992 Ingenue, garnered her a Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female Grammy and remains her best known and most successful single. The effervescent "Miss Chatelaine," also from Ingenue, remains a concert favorite and "I Dream of Spring," is a particularly lush example of what she so artfully created for the acclaimed Watershed.

Her bravura rendition of "Crying," originally cut with Orbison for the soundtrack to the movie Hiding Out, has become a showstopper in her live performances, perhaps rivaled only be her beautifully restrained version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." This soaring signature tune appears here as both a new recording, and in its original studio version. On her 2004 Nonesuch debut, Hymns of the 49th Parallel, she explored the work of her fellow Canadian songwriters, including Neil Young ("Helpless") and the woefully underrated Jane Siberry (the sublime "The Valley"). Regardless of its source, her choice of cover material has always been inspired, as evidenced by her take on the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe," Joni Mitchell's "Help Me," the Beatles' Golden Slumbers," and Chris Isaak's "Western Stars," produced by Nashville legend Owen Bradley, Patsy Cline's mentor, for Shadowlands. lang is equally adept with such standards as Cole Porter's "Love For Sale" and "So In Love," and the jazz classic Moonglow" (performed here with Tony Bennett), and that has endeared her to a multi-generational audience.
Results: Expanded Edition

Review Certified twice platinum by the RIAA. (5/96)
A Little Magic, A Little KindnessThe Complete Mono Albums Collection (2 CD)

Review The album on which she officially gave up on Nashville and began singing torchy, adult-contemporary pop, Ingenue has been referred to by lang as her "stalker" album for its emphasis on songs about desire and obsession. Despite such onerous implications, the album is a charmer, thanks to lang's sincerity and passion and the smoldering arrangements of songs such as "Constant Craving," "The Mind of Love" and "Still Thrives This Love." The album's somewhat dark spirits are tempered by the campy "Miss Chatelaine," which lang has often performed live to the accompaniment of a Lawrence Welk-style bubble machine. With Ingenue, you can do the same in the comfort of your own home. --Daniel Durchholz

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