Music Reviews

Shawn Colvin

Whole New You


Following her 1996 artistic triumph and commercial breakthrough, A Few Small Repairs, Shawn Colvin took a little time off to get married for a second time and to become a mother. Whole New You addresses her new state of mind these days with the same mature, tasteful sounds she and longtime collaborator John Leventhal brought to that previous effort. But it ultimately seems too slick, smooth, and in places, sleepy to have the same impact.

Colvin seems to address the challenges of family life right from the get go on the opening “A Matter of Minutes”: “I can pack myself up in a matter of minutes and leave you all far behind/All of my old world and all the things in it are hard to find.” Elsewhere, though, Colvin’s lyrical ambitions are mostly obscured behind a lush, adult contemporary pop sound as on the dramatic, metaphorical “Another Plane Went Down,” or the spooky, ethereal “Mr. Levon.”

The catchy title track, with its cool guitar riff, bright chorus, and neat little keyboard bit is the punchiest number here. The Sheryl Crow-like “Anywhere You Go” and upbeat “Bound To You” also rise above the din. But most of Whole New You is just cloyingly pretty, and doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression.

Finally, on the closing piano ballad, “I’ll Say I’m Sorry Now,” we get to hear Colvin apart from the tasteful musical trappings and we remember why we liked her in the first place. “And in love and war/Through the rush and the roar/You just call ‘em like you see ‘em,” she sings. Wish she’d done a bit more of that on this record.

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