Blessed with a peerless set of pipes and a fierce musical intelligence.
Sid Smith 2009
Blessed with a peerless set of pipes and a fierce musical intelligence, together as the Eurythmics, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart figured out how smart and savvy pop songs could retain their artistic integrity whilst simultaneously selling out stadiums around the globe.
With the release of her first solo album, Diva (1992), it looked as though she'd carry on where she and Stewart had left off.
Though Lennox's solo career may have notched up impressive sales and garnered Grammy's galore, based on what's presented on this release there's a sense that it never quite lived up to Diva's early promise.
Whilst no less than five songs from that album are highlighted here, the rest of the selection starkly shows that the law of diminishing returns had kicked in early on.
Her backwards-glancing homage, Medusa (1995), Bare (2003) and 2007's Songs of Mass Destruction only merit a couple of tracks apiece. Throw in her Love Song For A Vampire (from 1993's Bram Stoker's Dracula) and the obligatory 'previously unreleased' tempters, and what you're left with something that manages to be less than the sum of its parts.
Though it should feel celebratory, it comes across as a slightly forlorn tribute, running a bit thin the further out it moves out from Diva's high bench-mark. This serves to remind us that though she's always undoubtedly been a performer of startling quality, her solo writing has been distinctly patchy.
Lennox is on record as saying that this album was a way of drawing a line on this part of her life which suggests that she is moving into the realm of being a post-career pop star.
Whilst the newly recorded extra tracks - a cover of Ash's Shining Light and Patterns Of My Life (written by Keane's Tom Chaplin) - may give punters a reason to buy an otherwise less-than-essential-collection, they add precious little to what we already know.