wears the trousers magazine

ana popovic: blind for love (2009)
August 19, 2009, 9:01 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


Ana Popovic
Blind For Love •½

Remember the emptily earnest soft-rock of the late ’80s and early ’90s? The still-crucified-at-karaoke variety peddled by the likes of Alannah Myles and Bryan Adams; the type that carried on in the face of taste and fashion far longer than it had any right to? Then shudder at the thought of Serbian blues guitarist Ana Popovic’s Blind For Love, for it’s these dated dullards the listener is reminded of. Four albums into her solo career, Popovic has lapsed into producing the kind of material that terrifies you with the proficiency of its musicianship, the slickness of its production and its complete and utter lack of original ideas. At times it even verges on tragedy to hear such musical ability put to such pedestrian service. And pedestrian is precisely what most of this is.

The rock out faux-American sass of ‘Wrong Woman’ makes Popovic sound like a romantically defiant auntie blind to embarrassment at an interminable family wedding. It comes complete with blood-curdling Tina Turner-lite promises to neither forgive nor forget that are about as sincere as a Nigerian email offering a share in lost millions. The true blues foot-stomp of ‘Steal Me Away’ gives a glimmer of better things to come and, like Popovic, the listener too might be momentarily feeling the thrill. Then the smoky ’80s light jazz of the title track oozes woefully into earshot and any hopes are swiftly dashed. Like Sade on a particularly off day, it’s a song with little in the way of redemption. As tasteless as bad dinner party fare and twice as gloopy, the overwrought mood and by-the-numbers production does her vocal no favours. For Popovic can indeed sing as well as she plays, with a truly bluesy raucous holler that one suspects might sound electrifying when shorn of studio excesses.

‘Get Back Home To You’, complete with its overblown horns, does the ’stuck in traffic and need to see my lover’ frustrated blues-rock to a T. The only problem being that this particular formula hasn’t been interesting for years, serving only to leave us yearning for a future in which the empty oil wells have rendered such a waylaid car journey impossible. ‘The Only Reason’ once again dresses her ability in entirely unconvincing jazz attire, totally stripped of convincing soul, while the alarming tones of Eurovision in ‘Part Of Me’ rob a potentially touching maternal tribute to her baby of all sincerity. Next up is ‘Lives That Don’t Exist’, a jazz-funk number with filler written all over it. Here, an extended guitar solo stands in for the absence of ideas, though the oddly intriguing horn breaks are an unexpected virtue. 

Penultimate track ‘Need For Love’ is a straightforward rocker that comes as a relief from much of what came before. Comparatively stripped back and not attempting to be anything other than itself, its lusty imperative to get the guy whatever it takes finally gets the blood rather than the boredom pumping. It’s a shame, then, that ‘Blues For M’ clocks in at nearly six minutes of entirely conventional, overproduced commercial blues whose original dedication has been swamped by predictability, drawing an exercise in how not to illustrate your best musical assets to a thankful conclusion. The greatest disappointment of this album is that Popovic really does possess remarkable ability. There’s a soulful, dues-paid blueswoman beneath the weight of the bombastic production and hamfisted attempts at alternative styles, a woman who is at her most compelling when she’s at her simplest. At its best, Blind For Love might instil a longing to hear Popovic get back to what inspired her to make music in the first place. At its worst, it is something of a heartbreaker.

Martyn Clayton
UK release date: 21/07/09; www.myspace.com/anapopovic


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

ana popovic is, & will never be as good as us male musicians, so f**k you, ana popovic!

Comment by seth finley from sfx

*rolls eyes in quiet disbelief at the above comment*

Whatever the merits or otherwise of the album, her musicianship is pretty expert and not really in doubt. Don’t think sex or gender comes into it really does it ?

Comment by martcibe

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