Album review: MICHELLE RENEE – Michelle Renee

Michelle Renee

Yelloweed [Released 14.07.14]

Ideally you need a great voice and equally good material to make the transition from being a backing singer to establishing a solo career. Michelle Renee undoubtedly has a sultry voice, but her choice of material from syrupy soul, contemporary r&b, sensual disco, Latino percussive grooves and an occasional ballad, all glued together by an overly slick production, makes for some anodyne listening

It doesn’t start out that way, because for all its middle of the road feel ‘Heaven’ has a sufficiently uplifting hook to interest day time radio, while the percussive funk of ‘Mamacita’ aims to be a dance floor hit, right down to the hand claps.

The Rodney Shelton co-write ‘Gypsy Girl’ is as clichéd as the title suggests: ‘Restless like a smoking gun, I’m telling you she’s born to run’. And then there’s the harmony drenched ‘Time for Kama’ (sic). The pun presumably being on Kama Sutra, as she groans and whispers her way through a funky disco beat, with imperious backing vocals, sparkling percussion and cringe worthy lyrics: ‘Been A Good Girl for so long, paid my dues now its time for play’.

Still, there’s no denying the ‘sweeping ‘Ah Yeah, Ah yeah’ refrain which gives the song a hypnotic feel. There’s also a 70’s disco feel to be found on ‘Ooh La Love’ which is excellent but sounds like its been recorded a zillion years too late.

This album is full of meticulously produced formulaic music that tries too hard to adhere to an existing template. You could image ‘Time for Kama’ being a Euro pop hit in the slip stream of Amanda Lear for example, and given her musical experience in Germany, maybe she knows more about that market than most.

‘Missing You’ is contemporary r&b with the usual; ‘I’m just going crazy without you baby’ sentiment, while ‘Stay’ is built around another uplifting hook on which her vocal soars impressively over angelic bv’s that wouldn’t be out of place on a Michael Jackson record.

Michelle is a decent song writer with a commercial bent, but she’s aiming for a crowded market place and this album will sink or swim on the back of a plugger’s ability to get it noticed.

There’s not a huge difference between her own songs and the collaborations with keyboard player Rodney Shelton, on numbers such as ‘If I Say I Love You’. Again it’s a superbly played track with a crisp acoustic guitar line, nuanced percussion and sultry bv’s and might slot into one of those late night radio slots.

Her cover of John Legend’s ’Ordinary People’ substitutes a lush production for the minimalist original. It works well enough, but subjugates the song’s original emotional bite.

Michelle finishes several tracks worth of breathy yearning with a defining ballad, ‘Love of My Life. It’s a suitably big production finish with an enveloping melodic sweep (check out the harp strings) and backing vocals but at least she sounds like she’s finally content.  ***

Review by Pete Feenstra

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 21 November. Next session 12 December. The video above was a Halloween Special, streamed 31 October.

Check out the latest video here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 28 November 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 November 2021.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

From 29 November the Featured Albums and Power Play segments will reflect those artists and tracks featured during 2021.

Popular (last 30 days)

This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), ALL POSTS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply