April 2, 2018 Lisa Stansfield – Deeper (Album Review)
Born on April 11, 1966, in Manchester, England, Lisa Stansfield began her singing career in 1980 at the competition Search for a Star, in which she won as the champion. After a brief stint with the band Blue Zone, which she formed in 1984 with Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, in 1989 she embarked on her own as a solo artist and produced her first singles. In her almost 30 years of activity, she has released seven studio albums, from 1989’s Affection to 2014’s Seven, spawning memorable hit singles that charted at number-one on the U.S. R&B Singles Chart, such as “All Around the World,” “You Can’t Deny It,” and “All Woman.” Now, four years after her last, Stansfield is back with the follow-up.
Slated for release on April 6, 2018, on earMUSIC, Stansfield’s eighth effort begins with the album’s carrier single – the Dance Pop mid-tempo “Everything,” whose boom-bass and glittery vibes take the listener back to the Heatwave ’90s. This is followed in the same beat and rhythm of the horn-adorned and string-orchestrated “Twisted.”
“Desire” then softly simmers next with its piano-led prelude, only to warm up into driving mode with its subtle and ambient Trip-Hop excursion. The ensuing “Billionaire” – the album’s first single – is oozing with Pop sensibilities and exuding echoes of something sentimental and nostalgic. The smooth groove gives way to the sexy Sophisti-Pop sway of “Coming Up for Air.” Stansfield then lures the listener to the dim-lit corner of the discothèque’s lounge area as she unleashes “Love of My Life” in an enthralling vocal swagger. With “Never Ever,” the bouncy bass and sparse orchestration take centerstage, effectively complementing Stansfield’s voice that floats confidently midair.
“Hercules” is a change of style and pace – funky and choppy – reverberating faint traces of George Michael’s “Faith.” In this song, Stansfield says she was Hercules; well, you just gotta have faith, in her! The charismatic singer finally breaks the Dance Pop vibrations with the piano ballad “Hole in My Heart,” transforming the Disco atmosphere into something conducive to couples who feel like merging their bodies into one. Stansfield’s foray into heartrending balladry continues with “Just Can’t Help Myself.” The title track then returns the listener to Light Jazz mode. The penultimate track, “Butterflies” is another funky affair, with scathing guitars that will remind the initiated of Prince’s “Kiss.”
Finally, Stansfield wraps up her latest offering in the same sophisticated Funk-Jazz-Pop combo, in the form of “Ghetto Heaven,” ultimately transcending the satisfied listener to her early ’90s of yore. Nostalgia heaven, indeed!
Stansfield and her music have come so far, all around the world – certainly not in 80 days but definitely after all the years of the hard work, resilience, passion, and collaborative efforts of Stansfield and her ever-dependable songwriting and production team whom includes her former bandmate, long-time collaborator, and eventual real-life partner, husband Devaney. That is why CrypticRock gives Deeper 4 out of 5 stars.