Bonnie Raitt was an indie artist gone mainstream, back in the 80's. To me, she's always been a big name. But at the time, she was much like Foster the People, fun., etc., who some know and love, and suddenly all know and love. The biggest difference, though, is the time it took - she was about 20 years in before this switch happened.
Beyond music, she's been an incredible activist, especially for the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. We know her for her 90's hits like "Something To Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me." In the mid-2000's though, she got hit with tragic losses of parents, her brother, and her best friend, causing her to step away from the professional music life for a little while. She felt renewed in 2010 though, and came back to us. Two years later, after true work and dedication, we've been given her latest: Slipstream.
"Used to Rule the World" starts off with a bunch of rock quotes, and this awesome funky little beat. It's like a tribute to the old crowd of rockers who used to run things in music. Those songs we love but never hear enough, even though they're legendary all around. Now, those people, or at least Bonnie, are looking at music in amazement ('mystified'). At least, that's what I can gather lyrically. There's a nice little instrumental break on an electric keyboard/organ that's okay, just not all together appealing. The rest of the instrumentation in the song is awesome. Groovy.
Whoa. I'd venture to classify "Right Down the Line" as a reggae song, given the beat used. I mean, it's not SOJA, but there are definite influences used throughout. Very different sound than any other female artist we've heard so far in the past few months. There's a familiar, but different sound used here, touching in on different areas of rock for this love song. Through it all, it's been this guy, this one guy. Kind of a cool sentiment, which can be romantic or not, to feel for someone - and not a horrible reason to have it. Check out this video - a really sweet tribute to couples and those who have been there, right down the line, for each other.
A slower number starts up next with a guitar just feeling out the opening. "You Can't Fail Me Now" is a cry out after or during the rough times. Maybe the person from "Right Down the Line" is being called upon for more help. I mean, it's one thing to give, but maybe you need them with asking sometimes. Then again, this could just be a song to the heart for strength. Whatever the case may be (I do love analyzing lyrics though), this song's more of a sleeper than the others. That's not a bad thing, it just requires a little more effort in listening. It maybe worth it, depending on your own situation.
"Down To You" picks the beat back up. The pianos hot and the guitar is rockin'. It comes across as a great live number in a smaller venue. Bonnie's on top of the rock music too, really carrying a great tune. The beat sort of oddly changes in the second verse, I think. I'm hoping I'm wrong about that. But the song sounds like it gets a little off for some reason from the original awesome sounds that we had going originally. For the first time, I'm really hoping it's my ears, not the song itself, because it really is a good track to start with.
A very light song joins in next, with "Take Me Love With You." There's something extraordinarily simple about this track, despite the fact there's a whole band clearly there. I think it lays in the rhythm the guitar takes on and keeps throughout the entire thing. There's a slight psychedelic sound around the middle, and there is a strong presence of background vocals. Still, it's a pretty simple feeling song all the same. Just remember someone loves you - that's all.
"Not Cause I Wanted To" takes the simplicity to a new level. This time is it, quite literally, in the music instead of the lyrics. The lyrics are have more depth and are self-reflective. She realizes she's messed up, but can't necessarily put into words why. Basically, she's fallen out of love. I guitar is my favorite part here though. It could be playing all alone and I would probably enjoy the whole song that much more. It's gently keeping time and flourishing slightly when needed.
Nice guitar solo to kick off "Ain't Gonna Let You Go." The whole song's a little grittier than we were used to with the rest of the album, including in our singer's voice. It's kind of a great kick ass song in some respects, but the lyrics are about holding on to a guy after not appreciating him before. Again, somewhat of the blues musical theme, showing off her roots and talents musically. The song's on the happier side of the genre though, so it works out to be an odd, but good fit. Love the line though: "You're not the man I was looking for. You're every bit of him and so much more." She means it well, promise.
"Marriage Made In Hollywood" is a country song, I don't care what anyone says. It's a story about particular people, and set mostly to guitar chords. It may be about a whole different town, but it's got a Nashville sound, and some of the best I've heard since I left there. While I don't adore the repetitive lines (there just comes a time where we have to go, 'ok, I get the point!'), it's a very easy to listen to song with a generally relaxing, toe-tapping sound.
I zoned out for a minute and got drawn back by the gospel/rock mix of "Split Decision." There's a crazy rockin' church organ playing, but there's also a bluesy guitar giving it its all. I have no idea if the instrumental choice had anything to do with the title of the song, or vice-verse, but it makes for an interesting time. Really, the organ is mostly in the first half, and the guitar almost entirely takes over for the second half. The instrumental break has an odd sort of sound to it though, where it winds up being two guitars instead. I think I'm reading too far into this.
"Standing In the Doorway" starts off slow, with almost non-instrumental sounding notes. It's an end-of-the-night song, as your trudging home from a hard day. Favorite like: "don't know if I saw you if I'd kiss you or kill you." This is actually a pretty damn heartbreaking song. Love's lost and it's been a tough one. It's left her feeling angry and cold altogether. The love was toxic by the end, and she feels foolish for the whole ending.
Final song time - "God Only Knows." Almost expectedly, this is a slow, simple song, with just Bonnie and a piano moving it along. The end of day subject matter in the first verse really does make it a perfect closing song. It's a very gentle observation of humans and the way in which we live, and just this insane world we have. "The worst in life looks beautiful as it slips away into our dreams."
Added to My Playlist:
- "Right Down the Line"
- "Million Miles"
- "God Only Knows"