Album Review                   :               THE ESSENTIALS ii

Artist                                     :               KAREN SOUZA

Genre                                   :               Jazz

Date of Released             :               2014

One of the best things that can be said with eighties music is that most of the songs that were popular then had good melodies.  So good, that any artist can experiment most of the songs in that period with different musical styles.  This is the idea behind this essential album from Karen Souza; she transformed some of the hit songs from the 80’s into jazz music.  Was she successful?

Listen to “Wicked Game” here

First some of the songs were predictable like “The Way It Is” and “Wicked Games.”  These songs are already jazz and sentimental in their own right.  In fact, the Chris Isaak song is already a regular in many jazz and sentimental music anthologies.  The Billy Vera song has been exploited many times in many jazz albums.  So, one can conclude that after listening with the first two songs of the album, one feels duped.

Listen to “Everyday Is Like Sunday” here

Well not necessarily, as you browse the list songs you see some interesting titles like INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart,” Morrisey’s “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” Fleetwod Macs “Dreams,” and Duran Duran’s “Skin Trade.”  As you notice that these songs are stuffs that you could not imagine ending up on a jazz album.  Fortunately, Karen Souza was very successful transforming these New Wave and Rock Songs into jazz songs.  Maybe, it was due to her voice which added a sexy dimension to all the mentioned songs.

Listen to “Skin Trade” here

Listen to “Dreams” here

The only downside in this album is that you cannot really transform some songs like in the case of REM’s “Everybody Hurts.”  You still want to stick with the wailing version Michael Stipe did with this melancholic song.  Lesson here is that just because it is a sad song, you can easily convert it to an musical style that you like.

Listen to “Everybody Hurts” here

As a whole, this is an entertaining jazz album, this is even better than any Diana Krall offerings.  The reason of course is the use of popular songs as jazz music in this record.  I rate this record 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Listen to “Never Tear Us Apart” here

Ratings Description:

1 star = Ignore it

2 stars= risk it

3 stars = borrow or buy it

4 stars = buy it and keep it

5 = buy, keep, and treasure it


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