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Review: Bonnie Raitt versatile on ‘Slipstream’

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Versatility. This is what Bonnie Raitt brings to her new album, “Slipstream,” her first album in seven years.

“Slipstream” is noteworthy and certainly that of a nine-time Grammy winner. A mix of covers and originals, the album is a blend of sad-song blues and upbeat funk tracks. Her rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Million Miles” is soulful, highlighting her deep-throated voice that has won her so many awards.

Another noteworthy cover is Gerry Rafferty’s hit “Right Down the Line,” which she redrafted and is available for free download on iTunes. Her take on this hit song sums up the album. It’s a good mix of bluesy sounds with the moderate speed of a rock ‘n’ roll song.

Raitt shows off her strong vocals with catchy melodies in “Used to Rule the World,” “Down to You” and “Ain’t Gonna Let You Go.” Her voice is that of a confident woman who’s been in the business for a while. Nothing is too showy, but you know enough to be impressed.

One of the great things “Slipstream” offers is depth. The lyrics are heartfelt after the loss of her brother and she demonstrates how she’s grown as a person from that experience. Songs that would normally seem like losing love are much more sentimental after understanding her struggle with her sibling’s death.

That’s not to say everything on this album is pure perfection. I’m not a fan of ending albums with ballads. Her last two songs both have somber melodies with somewhat uninspired lyrics that make the album drag out at the very end. For such a great start, it’s a disappointing ending.

The other problem with the much-loved versatility on this album is that I can’t find that one song I want to listen to on repeat. No song compelled me to put it on a playlist twice or made me feel like everyone I know needs to hear it. I think it’s because all the songs are only worth one or two listens.

 

Grade: B

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