Love and Hate

Love and Hate

by Joan OsborneJoan Osborne


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After nine previous albums that span musical terrains including mainstream pop, blues, throwback soul, rock, and modern country, singer and songwriter Joan Osborne delivers her first formal "song cycle" on Love and Hate. Co-produced once more with Jack Petruzzelli, these songs (all written or co-written by the artist), with their first-person protagonist, traverse the many stages between the poles reflected in the title -- though thankfully they never quite reach the latter. This record is ultimately a showcase for the songwriter more than it is the singer, one trying to come to grips with mastering this aspect of her craft. In set opener "Where We Start," Osborne is clearly influenced by Van Morrison's trademark weave of jazz and R&B. Its soulful melodic repetition is underscored by a Veedon Fleece-esque string chart, and well-placed use of a Rhodes piano. "Mongrels" and "Kitten's Got Claws" are fine rockers that feature Nels Cline's stinging guitar playing and a female backing chorus that includes Amy Helm, Gail Ann Dorsey, and Catherine Russell, while "Keep It Underground," co-written with Gary Lucas, features the same lineup in a funkier, grittier R&B setting. First single "Thirsty for My Tears" comes close to what passes for contemporary country -- but much is far less slick. "Not Too Well Acquainted" is soulful, jazzy pop that simultaneously recalls Dusty Springfield's kaleidoscopic Philly period and Burt Bacharach's mid-'70s era, with gorgeous string and horn charts. Some of these songs falter. The direct melodic quote from Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" in the opening phrase of the title track is the best part of an otherwise mediocre tune. An attempt at lushly orchestrated gospel-tinged soul in "Train" is too limited melodically to overcome its arrangements."Work on Me" and "Secret Room" use Spanish flamenco and fado-inspired frameworks far too lazily to make them work. The tender yet erotic "Raga" places Petruzzelli's banjo and hand percussion (not tablas) in a mix with acoustic guitars, harmonium, and Cline's lap steel. It simultaneously and successfully juxtaposes East Indian and American folk traditions and closes it all on a high note. Lyrically, Osborne misses at times; she can be too obvious with her metaphors, and use age-old clichéd lines from music history or rhymes that feel stretched to fit. However, these songs are poignant; they present love's many gradations -- its victories, difficulties, and failures -- in a sincere context. Love and Hate is uneven, but is worthwhile for the sheer pleasure and authority in hearing Osborne deliver songs from one of the heart's messiest places.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/08/2014
Label: Ent. One Music
UPC: 0099923939627
catalogNumber: 9396
Rank: 208077

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joan Osborne   Primary Artist,Vocals
Nels Cline   Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Gail Ann Dorsey   Background Vocals
Eric Bazilian   Guitar,Octave Mandolin
Keith Cotton   Guitar,Piano,Harmonium,Keyboards,Moog Synthesizer
Jack Petruzzelli   Banjo,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Harmonium,Keyboards,Moog Synthesizer
Catherine Russell   Background Vocals
Aaron Comess   Guitar,Percussion,Drums
Andrew Carillo   Guitar
Tim Albright   Horn
Richard Hammond   Bass,Upright Bass
Hiroko Taguchi   Strings
Amy Helm   Background Vocals
Matt Shane   Overdubs
Olivier Manchon   Strings
Rob Moose   Strings
C.J. Camerieri   Horn
Ben Kalb   Strings
Amie Amis   Horn
Yoed Nir   Strings
Anne Lanzilotti   Strings
Corrina Albright   Violin
Nadine Osborne   Whisper
Entcho Torodov   Strings

Technical Credits

Gary Lucas   Composer
Eric Bazilian   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Keith Cotton   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Rich Lamb   Engineer
Jack Petruzzelli   Composer,Producer
Joan Osborne   Composer,Producer,Art Direction
Mark Plati   Producer
Roman Klun   Engineer
Olivier Manchon   Engineer,String Arrangements
C.J. Camerieri   Horn Arrangements
Pete Keppler   Engineer
Gia Rose   Art Direction,Cover Art
Dorianne Laux   Composer

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