Title - ‘Seven: Deluxe’
Artist - Lisa Stansfield
After taking a different direction with her 2004 disc The Moment, it's almost as if Lisa Stansfield had disappeared off of the face of the earth. The Moment found her diverting from Soul/R&B into a more Pop direction. The album floundered and was forgotten rather quickly. So, after an almost 10 year hiatus, Lisa is back with her seventh album simply entitled Seven and it is, quite easily, one of her best.
The funky bass of ‘Can’t Dance’ is our first introduction to the newly-matured Stansfield vocals and works well as a lead-in track. Lots of horns, bass lines and backing singers take the song sky high, just as one would expect from the lovely Lisa. The old finger-snapping blues of ‘Why’ is next and sways your body even before you realize it’s taken ahold of you! The gentle vibe of ‘So Be It’ relates the tale of she is simply who she is and cannot, and will not change, whereas ‘Stupid Heart’ is the slow-blues story of falling stupidly in love with only herself to blame.
Stansfield takes it low and sultry for the first time on ‘The Crown,’ a track that showcases her vocals blending perfectly with her backing singers. The more upbeat horn section of ‘Picket Fence’ comes next and is a welcome return to the bounce that this latest LP is chock full of. Yet another track Motown would have been proud to have produced, it’s backed by the sounds of rain and thunder on ‘The Rain.’ A cautionary tale of a relationship gone wrong and the tears that are shed thereafter.
Up next is the inspirational ‘Conversation’ that confides in us that the only way forward is to simply just not give up. In truth it should have actually been called that, because at no point does Stansfield even mention the word conversation! But, each to her own. Then comes one of the best tracks on the album, for my money, the jazz/funk of ‘Carry On.’ What a great beat this has, straight from the off, in fact. Another keep one foot in front of the other tale of inspiration, it’s got Motown written all over it. The more sedate slow funk of ‘Love Can’ is next, with ‘You Can’t Deny It’ backing it. The latter sounding much more like we’re used to hearing Stansfield from 20 years back, it slots in easily here also.
The first bonus live track from Manchester, England, ‘Set Your Loving Free’ begins with a big “Hello” shout out before the funky beats begin and Stansfield is off and running into a terrific live version of the song. A gently strummed acoustic guitar brings us the delicate-at-first ‘Time To Make You Mine,’ which first allows the crowd to go quiet but then softly clap along thereafter. The beautiful ’Someday’ is next, a builder of a sax-driven track that has lyrical belief that a broken relationship will be mended soon.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk