Dr. E - Elevated

Dr. E
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I was searching for what separates the songs that really work on Elevated, the new album by Dr. E, from the ones that don't work as well. The answer came to me while listening to "Let Me Clear My Throat," which is an especially strong selection on this 13-track album.

Dr. E is a college professor and an actress when she is not fronting her own band, Fleshcoat. Those two occupations influence the strongest tracks on Elevated. A song like "Let Me Clear My Throat" has a theatrical quality. It conjures up images of a singer on a stage of a Broadway musical and delivering "Let Me Clear My Throat" at the end of an argument with a do-nothing man. The song plays to the Dr. E's strengths as a vocalist.

I was searching for what separates the songs that really work on Elevated, the new album by Dr. E, from the ones that don't work as well. The answer came to me while listening to "Let Me Clear My Throat," which is an especially strong selection on this 13-track album.

Dr. E is a college professor and an actress when she is not fronting her own band, Fleshcoat. Those two occupations influence the strongest tracks on Elevated. A song like "Let Me Clear My Throat" has a theatrical quality. It conjures up images of a singer on a stage of a Broadway musical and delivering "Let Me Clear My Throat" at the end of an argument with a do-nothing man. The song plays to the Dr. E's strengths as a vocalist.

"Let Me Clear My Throat" is suited for a singer who can bring some attitude to a song. The same can be said of "Halle Berry" and "Kicked To the Curb." The first is a dramatic call for people to find their own inner beauty and self worth. Dr. E starts by asking, "If I looked like Halle Berry/Could you get into me/Hold my hand and tell everybody that you really loved me." In the end, Dr. E concludes that she can't be her fellow Ohioan and that she can only be herself. Later verses ask the listener how would she be treated if she were as rich as Rockefeller or as influential as the Queen of England.  Listeners will hear a lot of jazz influences and some Stephanie Mills in Dr. E's phrasing and her vocal range. Mills, of course, had a theatrical background, and she knew how to sound assertive and self-confident.

"Kicked to the Curb," finds Dr. E giving a tongue lashing to an unfaithful man. Again, her sass and self-confidence allow her to transform what could be a bitter breakup song into a song of spiritual renewal. She even introduces a humorous riff at the end of the song where she mocks a man who just can't seem to grow up.

The songs in which Dr. E moves away from the theatrical sass are not as compelling. Many of them are anthems of uplift, which is fine. However, this vocalist is at her best when she delivers lessons from the classroom of life with a little spunk and attitude. Moderately Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
Album of the Month - Plunky & Oneness - "Afroclectic"
Choice Cut - Chris Jasper - "For The Love of You"
Featured Album - Jeffrey Dennis - "Lovin On You"
Featured Album - Leon Ware - "Rainbow Deux"

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