Annie Lennox – Songs of Mass Destruction (2017)

Posted by on November 4, 2017
in pop
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Menacing as they sound, the songs of mass destruction gathered on Annie Lennox’s fifth solo disc don’t manage to so much as nick the gorgeous instrument she’s built her career on. Weaving artfully as ever around the contours of songs that suggest the worst–Lennox is world-wise and therefore maybe inevitably world-weary–she imparts gravity and grace in a voice as cloudless and surface-smooth as just-brewed mint tea; from the tentative beginnings of the mournful “Dark Road” to the gospel-bottomed gorgeousness of “Ghosts in My Machine,” she’s in full command of her considerable vocal powers. And it’s possible she’s never used them to such moving effect on a single record. Earlier Lennox or Eurythmics albums might have succumbed here and there to slight-seeming experiments in style, but Songs of Mass Destruction doesn’t dilly-dally. All swerves, even playful ones (see “Love Is Blind” and “Coloured Bedspread,” a synth-y song that wouldn’t seem so out of place on a recent Madonna record), are on-message: “Womankind” busts wide open not only because it needs to (a voice this big can’t be contained, it reminds us), but to demo empowerment, and the hopeful “Sing” signs off with a seconds-long African guest vocal. There’s an upside to the destruction of cultural wellness that led Lennox to write this record, and it’s artistic creation. Songs of Mass Destruction is a sterling, rock-solid, expert example. –Tammy La Gorce

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