…her first two albums were more or less Lynch projects, as he and composer Angelo Badalamenti wrote all of the songs. But on “The Art of Being a Girl,” instead of the shadowy siren created for the screen, we find the real Cruise: slick, stylish and dressed to the nines. For this release, her first in nine years, Cruise enlists the help of trip-hop artists Khan and Mocean Walker, which makes for a sound with more beats and less atmosphere. No longer a misty-eyed Alice in Wonderland, Cruise is, if anything, the Cheshire Cat, grinning, purring and slinking through tracks laced with bossa nova and acid jazz.
Stylistically, nothing on “Being a Girl” will be considered cutting-edge electronic lounge music. As on the album cover photo, in which she and her band sit lethargically around a hotel room, Cruise seems to admit she’s arrived late to the party. But here’s where Cruise injects her own personality. Jaded commentary and snippets of dark humor reminiscent of Ann Magnuson (The Luv Show, Bongwater) are thrown into her Henry Mancini-meets-Massive Attack approach. It’s this grain of salt that makes the whole dreamy cabaret of the self-important art-bar scene so much more palatable.
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online.