Melody Gardot emerged from her own smoky shadows of the mid-2000s as if she were some femme fatale emanating from a film noir movie. The plot twist was that she was the good girl, but it was her body that had been damaged in an auto accident. An extensive recovery followed. Her long, lean cane only reinforced her long, lean looks. The shades added just a touch of mystery. If there was anything positive, it was that she confronted the challenges and drew on them as a source of inspiration for some of her songs. Gardot's debut disc contained ten compact, yet gripping, originals and the sophomore release was a compelling and seamless second chapter. Taking elements of Julie London's sultry purr and Sade's sophisticated snap, Gardot nonetheless charted her own original course. Even more great music followed over the next decade.
On Sunset in the Blue, Gardot is pensive but patient and often soothing. Gliding up to the microphone, she is cautious and intimate as she beckons the lush strings to support the album's opener, "If You Love Me." Her vulnerable voice continues to lightly float on many of the songs including the second selection, "C'est Magnifique" (featuring guest Portuguese Fado singer Antonio Zambujo). Later, the lyrics of "You Won't Forget Me" proclaim that her former beau "won't forget me / on nights like this / The moon will cast / Upon you the shadow of my kiss" but her emotions reveal the truthshe will never be able to forget him. Moments later, she delivers "From Paris With Love," a romantic postcard from France. Gardot's cool lyrics reveal "Lovers tucked into a quiet café / Sat beneath a shade of red / They fall in love like fallin' out of bed." Undoubtedly, Bogart and Bergman are sitting just a table or two away.
As the album draws to a close, Gardot presents a pair of American Standards, "Moon River" and "I Fall in Love Too Easily," before treating us to a final bonus song featuring guest artist Sting. Gentle, supportive guitars weave in and out of the album while understated trumpets and saxophones appear sparingly. When they do appear, they are welcome additions that make rich contributions.
One of Gardot's strengths on Sunset in the Blue is that more than half of the songs are originals, almost as if she were crafting a modernized set of American Standards. "From Paris With Love" could certainly be added to that prestigious list. If there is a weakness, it is the lack of musical variety as you find yourself hoping for surprise twists. Ironically, she gives us almost too much of a good thing. Regardless, find your own corner table, order a vintage French Bordeaux and listen as Sunset in the Blue gently unfolds.
If You Love Me; C'est Magnifique; There Where He Lives in Me; Love Song; You Won't Forget Me; Sunset in the
Blue; Um Beijo; Ninguem, Ninguem; From Paris With Love; Ave Maria; Moon River; I Fall in Love Too Easily;
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