CD Review – Beth Hart “Bang Bang Boom Boom”
Bang Bang Boom Boom, the new album from California chanteuse Beth Hart, runs the gamut of musical styles from low down blues to swinging cabaret, rock, gospel and soul with one simple theme holding the songs together: love. The 11 songs were recorded live off the floor and masterfully produced by Kevin Shirley, all designed to highlight the impeccable depth and power of Hart’s smoky alto, a true gift from the gods. She has been compared to Janis Joplin and Etta James, but when you hear the opening strains of her minor key piano and sensuous vocal on “Baddest Blues,” you’ll swear it’s Nina Simone reincarnated. The powerful ballad is the perfect mix of pleasure and pain, a My Funny Valentine for the new century.
The album continues on with a set of love songs written from a grown woman’s perspective that show off the strength of Hart’s songwriting skills and her triumph over personal demons and industry skeptics. The title track is a rollicking vaudeville rocker, with titillating tongue twisting lyrics, followed by the rockin’ “Better Man,” which gives a glimpse into the source of Hart’s newfound happiness. The sizzling slow blues “Caught Out in the Rain” has Hart playing the role of “the other woman” in a scandalous love triangle, and the big band romp “Swing My Thing Back Around” has her teasing us like Betty Boop on steroids.
Hart returns to piano-centric singer-songwriter ballads, channeling Carol King for the lovely “With You Everyday” and the expansive “Thru the Window.” The album hits full steam with the horn infected gospel rocker “Spirit of God” with Hart burning down the house with vocal calisthenics that fuse Janis with Aretha. Her newest partner in crime Joe Bonamassa makes a guest appearance soloing on the soul stirring “There in Your Heart,” adding fire to one more show stopper. And just to add another hat to her collection Hart throws in the island country flavored “Ugliest House on the Block,” with its playful social commentary; is there no style she can’t master? Bang Bang Boom Boom is being billed as a “comeback album’ for Beth Hart who has been to the bottom and climbed her way back up, but it may be more accurate to say it’s a coming of age album for an artist who has hit her stride with full power and is fearlessly taking on the world.
Beth Hart LIVE_ Baddest Blues
Originally Published at Innocent Words 2-25-2013
Rick J Bowen