Top critical review
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Difficult to love
on 13 April 2014
Mayra Andrade has previously released a couple of very nice albums of Cape Verdean music, with Brazilian hints and a live album which used tracks from the albums along with a few more jazz influenced tracks - these didn't always work for me.
Lovely Difficult moves even more into the world of jazz/singer-songwriter. 4 of the 13 tracks are sung in English. It took me quite a while to come round to these tracks. Mayra avoids the embarrassing switch to English experienced by previous world music stars and thankfully there are no guest spots from Sting, Peter Gabriel or Neneh Cherry! Surprisingly to me, these English lyric tracks are not always the weakest. However, they lack the shape of the Cape Verdean ones, although even these sometimes lack real character.
We Used To Call It Love has a great swing and far away jazz trumpet. Catchy enough to make it a hit
Build it Up, written by Krystle Warren is a nice track but I can't help thinking that Krystle would have made a much better job of it, rather than have an odd little voice, although nicely timed, that doesn't really carry the emotion of the song.
96 Days has particularly annoying English lyrics using smoking as a comparison to the 'addiction' to a failed relationship. It'll probably carry more weight in high smoking countries like Spain, France or Portugal!
There are some lovely gems with more of a Cape Verdean vibe, Ilha de Santiago, written by Simentara star Mario Lucio, has delicious vocal phrasing and dreamy guitar.
Tenou Ki Bai with it's swirling organ is a promising opener. Rosa offers a reggae lilt with a good electric guitar riff. Les Moits D'Amour offers some more reggae-lite. Tera Lonji has a strong longing for Cape Verde.
Overall I'm sorry to say it's often quite languid and samey. Some of the tunes can be quite bland. I think it will be a big hit and Mayra deserves praise for trying to find her own way in this 'world music' niche. She does rather trade on her looks, the photos are all soft focus and posed. The back cover could have been a 1980's Athena poster! I hope it's her choice to use her images in this way rather than a cynical white male record producer.
I'm going to stick with Mayra but do prefer her previous releases.