It’s tempting to think that the Internet destroyed the music business, but music has always been driven by economics, to a certain extent. When touring became too expensive, the big bands became smaller bands. It had less to do with choice than with salary. But there’s still a place for that large, lush sound. Even in this streaming age. Dana Fuchs shows that with Love Lives On.
Love Lives On has an old-fashioned sound. There are horns, there’s guitar, there are backup singers. And then there’s her voice–a voice that rumbles and growls while still managing to flash just the right amount of vulnerability–leading this huge swell of voices and instruments through each song. The result is an album that perfectly marries the rich production of 1960s soul music and the more natural sounds of the early 1970s.
“Backstreet Baby” the lead track, grooves, thanks to a simple rhythm guitar riff that supports the song as the horns, backup vocals, organ, and of course, Fuchs, mesh perfectly over it all. “Callin’ Angels” is like a lost Motown track, slowly building in intensity, as guitar and organ are eventually joined by those incredible horns and backup vocals. “Sittin’ On” is a funkier, bass-driven song, but with a wonderfully sad chorus melody.
The album isn’t just about soul, though. “Ready to Rise,” is a straight-up rock song, albeit one with some definite soul-inspired touches. But it’s as much power ballad as it is anything, as the horns and background singers take a rest. “Battle Line” has a Band vibe, with lush organ and guitar. “Fight My Way,” a country-folk number, is even more stripped down, with just Fuchs, guitars, and mandolin. Her cover of “Ring of Fire” is similarly stripped down, but with a sweetness and vulnerability that reimagines the song as a question, rather than Johnny Cash’s petulant statement.
Fuchs is at her best when she’s pushing her voice. She sounds great in the less densely produced songs, but when she’s in the thick of a wall of sound, she’s extraordinary. Not many contemporary artists have the voice to survive in this kind of rich, throwback production environment. Fuchs thrives in it.
The Review: 9.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Backstreet Baby
– Fight My Way
– Ring of Fire
– Sittin’ On
– Ready to Rise
The Big Hit
– Ready to Rise
Review by Steven Ovadia