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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Julia Wade - Solos

Julia Wade – Solos
2012, Julia Wade
Julia Wade has a singular voice born of classical training and operatic leanings.  As a crossover artist, Wade’s material runs the gamut from classical to Broadway to folk, with a bit of almost everything in between.  Wade seeks to inspire with Judeo-Christian inspired lyrics and an easy, contemplative musical style that lends itself to meditation.  Wade’s latest album, Solos, is cut wholly from this cloth.  Expounding on passages about God, spiritual love, sacrifice and joy. 
Wade kicks off Solos with the contemplative recitative “Beauty.”  This seeming rumination on aesthetics is actually woven with phrases that strive for a deeper spiritual connection.  Wade’s poetry is rough and unpolished at best, and her lyric presentation style grows quickly tiring.  “Today” sounds like a labored off-off-Broadway castoff.  No one doubts Wade’s voice, but the songwriting is ham-handed and her presentational style is stilted and impersonal.  Wade hits choppy waters on “Dominion”, offering a solid vocal performance that is unable to overcome awkward and stilted writing.  “Mind’s Camera” shows a distinct disconnect between song and style, and the lyrics are so overdone with faux intellectual spiritual musings that they become unlistenable.    “One” follows similar style and sounds, and practically requires its own libretto. 
Julia Wade is afflicted with a need to describe every thought in complete detail.  Listen to “Divine Love” if you need an example of this tendency, and how it can completely kill a song.  Wade bludgeons each thought with a barrage of descriptive language that leeches the intended spirituality and heart from the message.  “Government” follows a similar path, dealing in pseudo-intellectual musings on human institutions with spiritual overtones.  “Prayer” is truly expansive, clocking in at 6:13.  Wade’s prayer is full of emotional disconnect.  This disconnect seemingly decides it likes the neighborhood and sticks around through the end of Solos. 
Julia Wade has a distinctive voice that is perfect for the stage.   She manages to make some interest on Solos in spite of largely uninspired spiritual writing.  You’ll want to check out Solos for Wade’s voice, but it’s a tough garden to tend, and the songs you’ll have to wade through will try the patience.  Solos is a tough sell.
Rating: 1 Star (Out of 5)
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