China Forbes


If you’re a fan of Portland’s Pink Martini, probably one of the reasons is lead vocalist China Forbes. She brings an air of faded glamour, and she does a more-than-creditable job of singing in the various languages of songs selected by bandleader Thomas Lauderdale. On her first solo album, Forbes lends her lovely voice to songs that, alas, all tend to sound pretty similar. Lacking the ambience that accompanies the torchier Latin and French songs she does with Pink Martini, the numbers and the vocals on ’78 are hardly distinguishable from those from the dozens of other pop divas. With Pink Martini the listener gets a trip to other times and places, scenes from old movies where Bogart might have owned the nightclub and guests did the rumba to an orchestra whose members all wore puffy shirts and the singer was a hot number who drew the eye of everyone in the house. On ’78, however, that mystique is missing, and with it much of the reason for listening. “Hey Eugene,” the title song on Pink Martini’s last album, is re-interpreted here. It’s an OK song, but there’s little need to revisit it. And, except for die-hard fans, there’s little reason to buy this album.