Keren Ann is relatively unheard of in the United Kingdom; she’s a musical artist that one of your friends probably keeps secret, in the fear that you may take her away from them. Listening to her sixth studio album 101, leaves you asking the question: why haven’t I already heard Keren Ann, and why has it taken six albums before I heard her at all!?
With a Dutch and Israeli background, Keren Ann Zeidel now lives and records in New York. The truth is, if you have ever seen any of the big American dramas on TV, such as Grey’s Anatomy or Six Feet Under, then you have probably heard her already, as she has had her music regularly featured on these shows. The mood of these American dramas gives you a good idea of the matching mood that Keren puts out in her music, thoughtful and solemn.
All ten tracks are written, arranged and produced by Keren herself, making 101 a fantastic introduction to her impressive talent and musical ability. The songs on the album are diverse; they push you through the track listing and keep you guessing as to what’s coming next.
All the Beautiful Girls takes a more laid back approach, relying wonderfully on the acoustic guitar to carry the song over a backing of beautifully balanced orchestral string sections. Sugar Mama is much more of a pop hit with a twist, but the song never steers too far away from the atmosphere that is consistent throughout 101. The piano led, Blood on My Hands, describes an imaginary massacre of the audience: ‘there was blood on my make-up, there was blood on the piano’, she sings calmly; an example of Keren’s imaginative lyrical choices.
101 is a fantastic achievement, and a true piece of musical art. While on first listen it may not seem as if it’s for everyone, further replays reveal new surprises that will keep you coming back again and again.
Keren Ann is about to embark on a US tour with The Roots, and in the past she has played shows with some prestigious musicians such as Rufus Wainright amongst many others; an impressive collection of music superstars that 101 proves she is capable of keeping up with.
101 is released on 4th April from EMI. The first single is My Name Is Trouble.
Female First - Edward Lewis