Strange & Beautiful

Glass Slipper Entertainment

In an alternate world, an artist like this would rightfully earn the moniker of diva, or at least have a damn good fighting chance at it. Instead, the public is subjected to the likes of Mariah Carey and her banshee wail, passed off as entertainment while a singer like Anny is relegated to some unknown label. Alas, I digress.

This release combines diverse styles of music that I am not really familiar with. In her bio at her Web site, she indicates she was influenced early on by musicals such as Hair, as well as artists like Queen, Elton John, and Sting. Such influences are readily displayed in her music, with the requisite advantages and disadvantages such influences entail. When all the ingredients pull together, she comes off with a ballsy and theatrical sound that indicates her own unique vision. At its worst, some tracks may sound pretentious.

The opening track, “White Lipstick Girl,” sets the tone for much of the album. A glossy, upbeat track that is danceable and has a rhythm that is evocative of artists like Sophie B. Hawkins and Sarah MacLachlan. On this and other tracks, we find Anny addressing a diverse range of subject matters. From vibrators and female empowerment (“Purple God”) and race relations (“Love Is Water”) to religious hypocrisy (“Is This What You Died For?”) and love (“Soulmate”), she tackles them all, with varying degrees of success. If you are a fan of some of the artists mentioned previously, in all likelihood you would find something rewarding on this release. While at times she overreaches her grasp lyrically, one has to applaud her singular vision and commitment. Unfortunately, far too few artists share a similar commitment.

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