Cheri Maree - Pure Voice (2007)

Cheri Maree
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A buddy and I have an ongoing musical dialogue over what makes people like a song. Is it the music - you know, the melody, beat, rhythm - or is it the lyric? I say this is a dialogue not a debate because we basically agree that a song has to have a good melody or a pumping beat in order to capture the audience. Even a word man like me can't really contest that fact. The first thing listeners hear, after all, is the music. However, the search for that perfect beat takes on added urgency when a lot of people expect a lyric to be nothing more than a catchy hook to link for a ring tone jingle.

There's still a place for artists who strive to create music that makes listeners tap their feet and lyrics that compel folks to sing along for the entire song. On her album Pure Voice, singer Cheri Maree succeeds on both counts. Her lyrical and melodic stylings won't fit on a ring tone, but they'll occupy your brain.

A buddy and I have an ongoing musical dialogue over what makes people like a song. Is it the music - you know, the melody, beat, rhythm - or is it the lyric? I say this is a dialogue not a debate because we basically agree that a song has to have a good melody or a pumping beat in order to capture the audience. Even a word man like me can't really contest that fact. The first thing listeners hear, after all, is the music. However, the search for that perfect beat takes on added urgency when a lot of people expect a lyric to be nothing more than a catchy hook to link for a ring tone jingle.

There's still a place for artists who strive to create music that makes listeners tap their feet and lyrics that compel folks to sing along for the entire song. On her album Pure Voice, singer Cheri Maree succeeds on both counts. Her lyrical and melodic stylings won't fit on a ring tone, but they'll occupy your brain.

Musically, Pure Voice is rooted solidly in jazz and funk.  The opening track "Hold Me Up," is a mid-tempo tune with a bouncy melody that fuses jazz and funk. That funky beat makes the song's message imploring listeners to support each other (or hold on another up) go down easy.

Maree displays vocal dexterity throughout the album. She envelopes the second tune, a ballad "I Love," a dreamy number that finds her singing about all the things that attracts her to the object of her affection. "Talk to Me," the strongest track on the CD, is a jazzy number in which Maree assures her lover that he can confide in her.

On "September" Maree drops into hip-hop fused R&B. The song even includes a short rap that actually manages not to be a distraction. The tune "Because You Love Me" is one that's sure to get the steppers crowding the floor.

Pure Voice is a well-paced album that includes ballads, mid-tempo and dance tunes. Lyrically, Pure Voice plows the familiar territory of affairs of the heart. Some might say the CD is a bit formulaic. But Maree masters the formula. The proof will be in all those people singing along the second they pop the CD into the player.

By Howard Dukes 

 
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