Friday, November 02, 2007

Grand Illusion

Song: Grand Illusion
Artist: Joan Osborne
Album: Righteous Love

If you’re like me, you may have over the last thirteen years asked yourself… where is Joan Osborne? You then may be, as I was, surprised to know that the answer is “Um… working moron.” Since the breakthrough major label debut “Relish,” Osborne has released six records and one greatest hits collection, including this years soul covers record “Breakfast in Bed.” It’s amazing how being out of the limelight can make you forget about someone, but then again… Joan Osborne wasn’t really mainstream. She just happened to have one huge hit.

I am talking of course about “One of Us” as in “What if God was one of us?” her absolutely ubiquitous ballad from 1995. It was a huge hit due partly to the female singer-songwriter boom of the mid-90’s. She did play Lilith Fair, which further cemented her place in music… for the three years that festival was running. Call me a sensitive homo with a weakness for a chick with an acoustic guitar and stuff she just needs to get off her chest y’all! but I liked that festival… what happened?

Actually, Joan wasn’t the only casualty (though honestly given what she’s done since I don’t think she cares to be on the top of the charts, the rest of Relish didn’t sound like “One of Us” and she hasn’t tried since to regain pop glory. Good for her.) Sure Sheryl Crow, the Indigo Girls, and to a certain extent Jewel have remained on the musical scene and continue to make major label records, but there are a lot of where-are-they-nows…

Meredith Brooks, Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole, Dar Williams, Juliana Hatfield, Heather Nova, Natalie Merchant, and even festival creator Sarah McLachlan have pretty much dropped out of current radio, aside from LiteFM stations and/or Adult Contemporary. But the thing is, like Joan… these girls have been releasing records and catering to their dedicated fan base. To hell with fickle pop public! These are the same people that are responsible for “The Macarena,” “The Thong Song,” and Hootie & the Blowfish. Girls, you’re better off without them!

Despite being a bit ignorant of Joan’s recent activity, I was a huge fan of her follow up to “Relish,” 2000’s “Righteous Love.” It was more soul influenced, and Joan did the majority of the writing on the record this time (she only did a handful of tracks on “Relish.”) My hands-down favorite track was “Grand Illusion” which had a rockin’ soul vibe and a killer vocal. But Joan was always known for her amazing wail, which ironically was not the focus on “One of Us.” Actually, it may be a bit strong, and do to over-hearing, but I pretty much loathe “One of Us.” It’s a mediocre song from a great singer/songwriter that just happened to be huge. (She didn’t write that one by the way.)

I do recommend “Righteous Love” and now feel I have some homework to do as I have some Joan to catch up on.


What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (live)

In studio for new album

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