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"I suppose I could twerk, but I don’t think anyone would enjoy that.”

LOOKING FORWARD,
LOOKING BACK

Annie Lennox Previews Her Upcoming Blue Note Release, Nostalgia, in Hollywood

Annie Lennox is getting ready to release her sixth solo, full-length studio album, Nostalgia, via Blue Note/Capitol.

 

The soul sovereign and former Eurythmics singer previewed six songs last night at Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Masonic Lodge for a private listening party. CMG constituents present included ruler Steve Barnett, Greg Thompson, Don Was, Danny Lockwood and John Bowen, along with Clear Channel’s John Ivey and iTunesJay Lepis.

 

Was made the opening statement, describing the approach he and Lennox took to this set of thoughtfully reworked covers. While noting that no drop date has yet been confirmed, the esteemed producer/exec did hint that it would first be released on vinyl.

 

Amid a sea of twinkling candles, the vinyl’s Side A was played on an old-school phonograph, which perfectly bounced the songs off the venerable building’s masonry walls and pitched ceilings.

 

Renderings included Hoagy Carmicheal’s “Memphis in June,” Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” Gershwin’s “Summertime,” “I Cover the Waterfront,” made popular by Billie Holiday, and Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.”

 

Greeted with a standing ovation, Lennox sat for an interview with Rolling Stone contributor Anthony DeCurtis, who remarked, “One of the things that struck me is that it seems like you approached them as if they’ve never been sung before.”

She explained that she wasn’t really a jazz buff and didn’t carry the aforementioned songs around with her over the course of her life, so there was a freshness to them that helped personalize the album and give it relevancy.

 

“The challenge was to take it back, own it and bring the life into it” without listening to every single variation of a tune, Lennox noted. “This album does not use music to hearken back to days gone by. It takes songs we all know and brings them to the present, making them relevant.” Those who heard the evening's selections had to agree.

The effervescent personality quipped, “I’m a woman going into my sixth decade and I want to make music. You know, I don’t want to twerk, but I want to stay relevant. If you twerk, you’re relevant, right? I suppose I could twerk, but I don’t think anyone would enjoy that.”

She also noted the intentional choice of previewing it at the cemetery, explaining that being there highlighted the impermanence and fleeting quality of things, while elucidating the power of lasting energy that music provides. “The human experience, the pain and loneliness is found in these songs.”

By viewing the selections through her own perspective, like seeing “I Put a Spell on You” as an anthem for women’s vindication, due to her tireless work in South Africa against gender-based violence, Lennox shows that these songs, while structurally the same, can be made contextually and spiritually new.

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