Donna Summer returns with an album that truly is a fine encapsulation of her career to...
Daryl Easlea 2008
Donna Summer returns with an album that truly is a fine encapsulation of her career to date: a pinch of dance, some frothy pop; a power ballad or two, all given a 2008 sheen. Summer is keen to prove that she is no disco relic: Hers is the world of American Idol and the contemporary charts. Crayons is her first album of original material for 17 years. And it owes more to her golden Casablanca era as opposed to her last recorded work as the 80s became the 90s. Although her record company wanted an album of covers, Summer surprised them by her desire to record original material, inspired by her love of James Blunt's You're Beautiful (I kid you not).
Although it is far removed from her high-period Giorgio Moroder work, it's much better than even the die-hards could be expecting. The Queen Is Back is typical of much here; big, bold and impactful; I'm A Fire is the album's centre, while opener Stamp Your Feet is pure Gwen Stefani; Summer may not be a Hollerback girl, but she sure sounds like it. Musically, Christina Aguilera is referenced also on the title track.
Driving Down Brazil is enough to make a smooth radio programme froth at the mouth. It's Only Love is the show-stopper, full of the insouciance of the final side of Bad Girls as it closes the album.
The planet seems to be ready for her. In the US, the album has debuted within the Top 20, and I'm A Fire has topped the dance charts. It’s good to have her back, sounding quite so contemporary; or, at the very least, like an approximation of what Donna Summer sounding contemporary would sound like.