Julee Cruise – The Art Of Being A Girl

Julee Cruise - The Art Of Being A GirlIt’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 rating: 4 out of 4many 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.

Order this CD

  1. You’re Staring At Me (3:42)
  2. The Orbiting Beatnik (4:28)
  3. Falling In Love… (5:56)
  4. The Art Of Being A Girl (4:57)
  5. Everybody Knows (3:11)
  6. 9th Ave. Limbo (5:05)
  7. Slow Hot Wind (3:57)
  8. Cha Cha In The Dark (4:15)
  9. Shine (4:16)
  10. Beachcomber Voodoo (4:49)
  11. Three Jack Swing (3:53)
  12. The Fire In Me + bonus track Falling (15:27)

Released by: Water Music
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 63:56

Julee Cruise – The Voice Of Love

Julee Cruise - The Voice Of LoveYou can’t miss this one, it’s got one of those very weird and nearly-disgusting David Lynch photos on the cover. Julee, for those of you who don’t know, remember or care, did the vocals on most of the Twin Peaks music, and her first album was wonderful. This one leaves a bit to be desired, but shows some promise for the next album. The sound is largely the same as that of her previous album, with music by Angelo Badalamenti and largely pointless lyrics by David Lynch. The best song on the album, curiously, is “In My Other World”, written by Julee herself, which is something I hope she can continue. Badalamenti’s backing is most appropriate for her vocals, but in this case her songwriting makes the piece stand out; the lyrics, though vague, are much more coherent than any of Twin Peaks director/writer Lynch’s aimless wanderings. “Until The End Of The World,” an atypically percussion-heavy song which seems to have no connection to the film of the same name (though Julee is featured on that movie’s soundtrack album), is also a standout. For the most part, the rest of the album suffers rating: 2 out of 4badly because it seems simply to be the entire soundtrack of Twin Peaks – Fire Walk With Me with vocals overdubbed. A disappointment after the first album, and hopefully, should Julee do yet another album, the David Lynch influence can be shaken off some more.

Order this CD

  1. This Is Our Night (4:07)
  2. The Space For Love (3:24)
  3. Movin’ In On You (4:04)
  4. Friends For Life (4:44)
  5. Up In Flames (4:40)
  6. Kool Kat Walk (6:23)
  7. Until the End of the World (5:33)
  8. She Would Die For Love (6:07)
  9. In My Other World (4:47)
  10. Questions in a World of Blue (4:48)
  11. The Voice of Love (3:14)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 51:51

Julee Cruise – Floating Into The Night

Julee Cruise - Floating Into The NightI seem to have tremendous difficulty trying to sell anyone on the merits of this album. The style of the production and the performances are far from the beaten path, coming as they do from the dubious musical team of jazz instrumentalist Angelo Badalamenti and Twin Peaks creator/Dune director David Lynch, with the breathy-to-breathless vocals of Julee Cruise. The entire project consists of pieces this team assembled for use in Twin Peaks, though most of them stand very well on their own, the only drawbacks being Lynch’s indecipherably cryptical lyrics which were largely concocted to coincide with the show’s equally confusing imagery and narrative. There also seems to be, as with all of Lynch’s work, a curious rating: 4 out of 4preoccupation with birds in the words. You’ll find everything from sparrows to owls to “The Nightingale” and “The Swan”. But if you can overlook the raison d’etre for this album and listen to it on its own, it ain’t bad…you just gotta be prepared for something different!

Order this CD

  1. Floating (4:51)
  2. Falling (theme from Twin Peaks) (5:18)
  3. I Remember (4:11)
  4. Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart (5:45)
  5. Mysteries of Love (4:27)
  6. Into the Night (4:42)
  7. I Float Alone (4:33)
  8. The Nightingale (4:54)
  9. The Swan (2:28)
  10. The World Spins (6:38)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 1989
Total running time: 47:47