Shawn Colvin

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Whole New You

  • Columbia

On her first new studio set of originals since the Grammy-winning A Few Small Repairs, was released nearly five years ago, Shawn Colvin has crafted a subtle beauty.

Working once again with her co-writer and producer, John Leventhal, Colvin certainly proves that all the accolades she received after the Grammys were right on target. She delivers the goods consistently here, starting with the string-backed reflections of “Matter of Minutes,” and easing into the big-pop hooks that dominate the twangy title track. Colvin's lyrics in the latter offer a couple of playful twists, trying to resolve a relationship by wishing for something “Too good to be true, like a whole new you.”

The album includes some sparse acoustic moments, like the tale about her return home to her South Dakota hometown for the first time in 15 years in “Nothing Like You.” But much of the disc features more fully realized arrangements, with strings, occasional horns, and Leventhal playing a multitude of instruments.

There are several songs that rank with the best Colvin's recorded since she arrived on the folk/pop scene with her 1989 major label debut “Steady On.” “Anywhere You Go” and “Bound to You” have significant pop radio potential, and “Bonefields,” with its dark imagery and the harmonies of James Taylor and Marc Cohn, has a haunting feel that's likely to stay with the listener long after the song is gone.

The most captivating cut though is the erotically charged, vividly detailed tale of dreams, “Another Plane Went Down.” Colvin wrote it about her own dream experiences, ranging from plane crash imagery to watching a lover with another woman. It's bold, revealing, and offers a lyrically fascinating glimpse at deep night visions that a lot of people experience, but few can articulate.

Kevin O'Hare

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