It’s been a long time since we heard anything out of Julee Cruise – too long. More like a decade, really. Okay, she’s done a few guest appearances, some soundtrack one-offs, and stuff like that, but ten years is a long time between solo projects – long enough for everyone except the most ardent fans to forget. Fortunately, Julee’s got plenty of those – her big exposure came along with a little show called Twin Peaks, something which it seems had nothing but ardent fans.
The Art Of Being A Girl owes less to the ethereal, dreamy style of Twin Peaks or her two previous solo albums than it does to that more recent work. Moby, Hybrid and numerous other acts have engaged Julee’s vocal services in recent years, and she’s become something of a known quantity in techno and especially lounge music circles. It’s that genre that she’s exploring in Art, and that genre from which she draws guests and producers of her own.
To be fair, it’s not the total culture shock that longtime Julee fans might expect. Despite being a bit funky, Art evokes the same smoky feel as Floating Into The Night, but in a slightly more modern sonic setting. It’s not as different as you might think. Truthfully, her Scream soundtrack selection (“If I Survive”) with Hybrid was more of a jarring change than this is.
And yet, there are some major shifts – the little monologues between songs are new (her ruminations on a superficial party crowd leading up to the opening strains of “You’re Staring At Me” are hilarious), and the kind of torchy jazz that made her a hit with Twin Peaks fans is now filtered through some decidedly modern influences – as the label on the shrinkwrap puts it, this CD falls into the categories of “lounge,” “chill-out” and “downtempo” all at the same time (quite a feat). Some of the new directions explored here include almost Siouxsie-ish vocals on “Falling In Love” amd “Three Jack Swing”, and giving any modern R&B diva you care to name a run for their money with the silky “The Fire In Me” (which, unannounced on the track list, also features a modernized take on “Falling”, Julee’s Twin Peaks theme song). At the heart of many of the songs, though, it’s still the sparing, alluring sound that dates back to her earlier works.
I highly recommend this one to Julee’s old fans, and to the listeners who may not have dug her earlier works – she might just reel you in with this one.
- You’re Staring At Me (3:42)
- The Orbiting Beatnik (4:28)
- Falling In Love… (5:56)
- The Art Of Being A Girl (4:57)
- Everybody Knows (3:11)
- 9th Ave. Limbo (5:05)
- Slow Hot Wind (3:57)
- Cha Cha In The Dark (4:15)
- Shine (4:16)
- Beachcomber Voodoo (4:49)
- Three Jack Swing (3:53)
- The Fire In Me + bonus track Falling (15:27)
Released by: Water Music
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 63:56