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Think Like A Girl

Jam Like A Woman

©2002 gtslade
Respect DIANA
clickcover by CBC|gt  

Diana King is a favourite. And I'm not turning Japanese. She's energetic, super-talented and, dammit, she is freakin' hot! So if you're seeking critical disparagement, surf elsewhere. Her new album disappoints in trivial ways but, overall, it's smashing.

Respect [Maverick/DAS, 2002, 12, 44.44] features eleven new songs, mostly co-written with longtime collaborator and producer Andy Marvel. They differ in one respect from her WORK work – they are not Reggae. Oh, the kids can dance to it, so long as it's not the "clean" version, and there are Reggae influences, but mostly it's Uptown R·n·B. Diana sounds like Jamaica; the music sounds like Jamaica, Queens.

Roughly five years since Diana's last outing for SONY|WORK, she's got a license to chill and catching up to do on Maverick. Tales include "Suga, Suga," about a girl with no ambition, and "She Had a..." about a girl with more than ambition. The latter tune is about as close to Reggae as the album gets.

"Credit Card" is a "gonna take my revenge on you" song, like "Hurricane" (Carlene Carter). It's very pretty, very sharp. The slow songs, like the everyday "Mi Lova," on Respect do not soar to the heights of "Find Your Way Back" and "Tenderness" on Think Like A Girl. Beating those ballads would be tougher than love. And honestly, whenever a song reveals details of my personal life, it's difficult remaining impartial. (Who knew she'd be so indiscreet?)


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The numerous uptempo pieces are the best. "Smooth Girl" is catchy, as is "Down Lo" with Papa Dee. "Wallflower" includes a slammin' bass. It's electric. "Tick Boom" which, for some reason, reminds me of Chevelle Franklyn, is outstanding – one of those tunes that sticks in your head to brighten your day.

Though it's understandable why Diana wanted to work with Giloh Morgan, "Wine Yu Waist" can't measure up to his sibling enterprises with Debelah. The lead vocal is super, though.

Respect is so urbane, those who say Diana's Yankified will have more fuel for their weenie roasts. Like her previous album, it was recorded in New York City with nearly all vocals (and harmonies) by Diana, who is well up to the task.

She demonstrates her talent and breadth, her command of a song. And while one could have hoped for a more varied selection or more Reggae, but Diana is still King of my domain.

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diana king

Diana King's second album, Think Like a Girl [Work, 1997, 13, 50.22], is wonderful. I feel you should buy it and listen for yourself, but I suppose you'll want to be persuaded.

I saw the video for "Shy Guy" and heard it in the "Bad Boys" film. The album, Tougher Than Love, matched the single's excitement. There's a great cover of "Ain't Nobody." All the other tunes, including "Shy Guy," are co-written by Diana. It's danceable, it's infectious.

Having heard her cover (more like rediscover) of "I Say a Little Prayer," I couldn't wait for her new album. Now it's here and I'm enthralled. Ordinarily, I'd be upset that they don't use a drummer, but I must admit I didn't realise it until I read the notes. The syn playing is just that good. They don't even use a bass guitar. And that's tough on-a de reggae music.

There's another cover on the album, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Boy George and others. (Is Boy George the counterpart of Georgie Girl?) The arrangement is so original, I didn't recognise it at first.

Diana shines on songs she has co-written. The title song is full of pithy, yet witty, lines. "You give mi a minute/ when me want it all night." I think I read about that problem somewhere. It doesn't stop there. "A girl needs emotion/ A man's a locomotion." She says it better than that inane Men are from Hunger, Women drive Saturns or whatever. But there's more. Her wisest observation: "A girl needs a best friend/ A man needs television." I thought television was my best friend, at least the remote. But I appreciate what Diana sings. And that's just the first cut.

More sage advice on "Love Yourself." It's certainly a platitude that you must love yourself before somebody can love you, but reggaes often draw on old sayings to great effect. Just off the top of my head, there's Marley's "Who The Cap Fit," on Rastaman Vibration. "Love Yourself" also moves on a powerful melody, and it's not as if we don't need to be reminded.

DKCov by CBC|gt Diana is more into dance than balladeering. Even what could be dainty ditties wind up with a solid beat. One exception is "Find My Way Back," a great reggae ballad. The other is "Still," a gorgeous ballad augmented by real strings and the Uptown Horns. I guess they blew the money they saved on drummers and bassists.

Diana shuns self-pity. A song about his "New Galfriend" could have been sad, but it's tough. Tougher than love, I guess. There are all these great songs. "Wicked" is another gem. "So you wanna romance me, undress me/ You gotta impress me." "L-L-Lies" is about guys who play g-g-games. And let's not forget "Supa-Lova-Bwoy" (super loverboy, for Yankees). It sizzles.

Surprisingly, the album was produced in New York. It sure sounds Jamaican and Diana sounds like she's having the time of her life. She looks great, sounds confident.

As bonuses, she throws in a song her mother sang and at the end of one cut, the classic calypso — On A Saturday Night. I could go on, but why should I bother? Just goo out an get de damn album. You will love it, as I do.

Read my review of Tougher and Live.
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Ms King was one of fifteen children, born in Saint Catherine's Parish, Jamaica. Her family thought pop music was sacrilegious, so she ran away from home at thirteen to sing in a hotel band in Ocho Rios.

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  lovingly restored, 7 OCTOBER 2006

In 1998, "Think Like A Girl" tied (with "Bloom") for number one at my house.