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Sunday, October 12, 2008

CD Review: Sabrina Shaheen - Love Is...

Sabrina Shaheen – Love Is…
2007, SAM Records

Sabrina Shaheen hails from Lake Orion, Michigan, and has already conquered the state of Michigan. Her debut album, Love Is… is making waves, with a single climbing the FMQB charts and a release now in Australia. Shaheen is a classically trained pianist who can easily migrate from jazz to pop and back. She has a gorgeous voice with a dark vocal quality that is reminiscent of Madonna. Love Is… is cornucopia of styles, and Shaheen’s voice adds more gravity and sensuality to it than your typical ear candy.

Love Is... starts out with Show Me, an urgent last plea to save a relationship where the narrator realizes she's been taken for granted. Show Me is a pop song by virtue of the arrangement, including electronic drums and synth, but if you listen closely you can hear the ghosts of a pedal steel and violin in there somewhere. This is a heart-breaking country ballad dressed up for the city. It's a great tune, but could cross genres as easy as changing clothes. By Myself is a Celine Dion style ballad that has been turned into a dance tune. I like the song but really didn't enjoy the arrangement. The Spanish guitar trills add a nice flavor, but this song would have been much more suited to an orchestral arrangement than the pop/disco style applied.

Look Into My Eyes has a stark, ethereal quality and is written in a Middle-Eastern Hejaz scale. The end result is a dark and haunting melody that will stick in the back of your mind long after the CD has stopped playing. Other tracks that were notable or enjoyable include Save A Smile For Me; Moving On (a heavy guitar rock sound mixed with synth); Foolish Pride; Running Away (think Evanescence) and My Love (Potential hit love song).

Shaheen saves the best for last, however. Veiled is a haunting recollection of the ghost of a relationship past and the wrongs done to the narrator. On this song you get the full aural picture of Sabrina Shaheen's potential. Here is a singer who could mix it up in hard rock, pop, country, jazz or even Broadway. I don't think there is anything she's not able to sing. Her dark and evanescent alto can sound very much like Madonna, but exceeds Madge in range and vocal quality several times over.

Love Is... establishes Sabrina Shaheen as a presence and as an artist to follow. To say that her career arc has the potential to be in the Madonna/Celine Dion/Sarah McLachlan range is not inconsistent with reality. It all depends on breaks and hard work, but Shaheen displays a musical flexibility, a singing talent and a songwriting talent that would allow her to ascend such heights. Love Is... is a fabulous debut. The musical variety here means most everyone can find something to like. And once you get a listen to her voice, you'll gladly listen to anything she wants to sing.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Sabrina Shaheen at or You can purchase a copy of Love Is… at

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