Marian Marie - Simply Me (2008)

Marian Marie
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Marian Marie is an unabashed adult soul singer. Oh, there are songs on Marie's debut record, Simply Me, that might have some appeal to the younger set - namely the up-tempo "Wait on Me." But this is the type of album that will get played on repeat when the girlfriends get together to talk. And men, we know what they will be talking about. At some point during the conversation, the women will talk about relationships.

Marie uses Simply Me to literally place her listeners in the room when the girlfriends caucus. Marie includes three short vignettes where a group of women discuss the pitfalls of the dating process, what crisis reveals about a man's character and the importance of being committed to a relationship. Each vignette serves as a theme that either brings a deeper understanding to the songs that precede it or introduce the two or three songs that follow.

Marian Marie is an unabashed adult soul singer. Oh, there are songs on Marie's debut record, Simply Me, that might have some appeal to the younger set - namely the up-tempo "Wait on Me." But this is the type of album that will get played on repeat when the girlfriends get together to talk. And men, we know what they will be talking about. At some point during the conversation, the women will talk about relationships.

Marie uses Simply Me to literally place her listeners in the room when the girlfriends caucus. Marie includes three short vignettes where a group of women discuss the pitfalls of the dating process, what crisis reveals about a man's character and the importance of being committed to a relationship. Each vignette serves as a theme that either brings a deeper understanding to the songs that precede it or introduce the two or three songs that follow.

It's an interesting concept. It works in part because the songs support the statements made by the women who speak in the vignettes. Take the first theme, "Let's Talk About Dating." The women talk about how people are on their best behavior when they are dating. However, they also noticed that guys become their real selves when the courtship ends. "Let's Talk About Love" and "Supernatural Love," the two songs that precede the vignette, are all about the potential. In the soulful "Let's Talk About Love," Marie sings about the hope and expectations that couples have when a relationship begins. "Supernatural Love," which is another mid-tempo groove, is where Marie expresses the emotions people feel when love is new and your partner is pushing all the right buttons.

The two songs that follow the vignette - "I'm So Hurt" and "Never Should Have Let Me Go" - explore the other side of relationships.  In "I'm So Hurt," Marie sings about trying to deal with the painful realization that her lover simply isn't into her. "I'm so hurt/I'm so sad/Still I try not to be mad/I'm so blue this can't be true/Still I try to get over you."

From an artistic standpoint, it helps that Marie has a fully mature voice and can handle slow, mid-tempo and fast songs with ease. She can be mournful and almost needy on "I'm So Hurt," and then flip it 180 degree and be sassy and assertive on "Wait On Me."

Of course, the youngsters talk about love and relationships too. However, the discussions that the younger sisters have are different. The youngsters sometimes dwell on superficial things such as looks and money. They also get mired in the drama. Women, who know from hard experience what money can and cannot buy, tend to focus on substantive things such as honesty, commitment and communication. Young people tend to get mired in drama. Simply Me is vocal confirmation that time brings wisdom, and that adults strive to struggle through the drama and conflict to find solution and affirmation in love from a higher source.

By Howard Dukes

 
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