Diamanda Galas
The Singer


3.5
great

Review

by Iai EMERITUS
January 3rd, 2010 | 9 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is how the blues should sound; like Satan himself.

A retreat back into 'pop' music was probably the only place Diamanda could go after Plague Mass, but since it's Diamanda, 'pop' needs to go into quotations. There might be songs on here you've heard, but where the acts before her were trying to be dark, she makes them look like puppies. "Gloomy Sunday" turns Billie Holiday into Kylie Minogue in comparison. "I Put a Spell on You" makes Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Nina Simone, and Creedence Clearwater Revival sound like Gareth Gates, Whitney Houston, and Keane.

And it's still probably her most accessible album, because where Plague Mass was completely and utterly fucking terrifying, The Singer is slightly less completely fucking terrifying. I mean shit, have you seen the artwork" Seen her knuckles" We've all got AIDS. Look, it says so, right there. Every time she reaches down into that gutteral, trembling, demonic bass end of her voice, it sounds like we're all about to die. Ditto when she screams up into that grinding banshee screech - it's like an angel getting raped. Was Robert Johnson possessed by the devil" If so, Diamanda Galas IS the devil. "Gloomy Sunday" is famous for being the song that has caused more suicides than any other, and here's a woman singing it as if she was personally responsible. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" was meant to be a spiritual about being lifted to heaven, and all of a sudden it sounds like that chariot is being dragged into hell by wild-eyed hell hounds, as the song resignedly peters out into darkness. "I Put a Spell on You" is even more blatant - for the first minute and twenty seconds, the only word she sings is 'devil'. Over and over again. And all this goes on over piano playing that straddles Cecil Taylor's noisy clanging and Fats Domino's deep-fried blues.

In a way it's probably a little disappointing that she had to make this album, because there was always something bluesy about her work, even when she flung herself furthest into the avant-garde. That's what makes a lot of it so special; that moment a few minutes after an album finishes where you think, 'Jesus, was that the blues I was just listening to"!' But then, there's something defiant about her doing this material - like she's standing over you asking whether or not you NEED - HER - TO - SPELL - IT - OUT - FOR - YOU. The ever-present AIDS theme acts that way too, nowhere moreso than on the deeply spooked "Let My People Go"; the cry of 'Oh Lord Jesus, do you think I've served my time"' might be the most direct piece of emotional pleading in her entire catalogue. Put it in the context of her life and work as an AIDS activist, and it's incredible how somebody can make a spiritual this passive-aggressive.

Haven't heard this" Son, you just don't know what the blues is.



Recent reviews by this author
Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood Krzysztof Penderecki / Jonny GreenwoodLana Del Rey Paradise
Scott Walker Bish BoschEmilie Autumn Fight Like A Girl
Susanne Sundfor The Silicone VeilPepe Deluxe Queen of the Wave
user ratings (27)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
January 3rd 2010


48188 Comments


I only heard about this lady because of her appearance ona new Rotting Christ album but this sounds extremely interesting.

Digging: CZARFACE - Every Hero Needs a Villain

Iai
Emeritus
January 3rd 2010


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rotting Christ? Really?! haha

DiceMan
January 3rd 2010


7067 Comments


Never heard of this. Will give it a look for shits and gigs probs.

BallsToTheWall
January 3rd 2010


48188 Comments


Yeah, they're covering 'Orders From The Dead' and she's gonna appear on it. Of course.

Zizzer
January 3rd 2010


915 Comments


Judgment is spelled incorrectly on track 10. I've never understood why they leave the e out of the middle.

jingledeath
January 4th 2010


7101 Comments


I've listened to The Sporting Life and it was one of the most bizarre albums I've ever heard.

BSX
January 4th 2010


1647 Comments


OMG 3 and 5 are songs I sing at vocal practice

EDIT: 800th comment

XulOnerom
January 4th 2010


1818 Comments


I think she was going to sing on "Her Ghost In The Fog" but couldn't make it in the end

Her cover of Gloomy Sunday is amazing

TheMoonchild
February 21st 2013


1127 Comments


Great to see some Diamanda love here

The Singer isn't my favourite album by her but it's one of her best, and definitely an important one. Her cover of I Put A Spell On You is just WICKED.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy