Joan Armatrading

Lovers Speak

Sometimes you just need to curl up with a classic, and Joan Armatrading fits the bill. This smooth new offering has all the elements we’d expect from someone that VH1 lists among the “most influential women in rock”: great guitar work, lyrics that surprise and a variety of styles. The title track is as upbeat a pop tune as I’ve heard in a long while, as is “Tender Trap,” but Armatrading’s trademark rough voice keeps the saccharine to a minimum. Her edgy vocals are at their best with heartbreak, though, and songs like “Less Happy More Often” and “You Made Your Bed” make full use of her raw, emotion-packed voice. My personal favorite is “Physical Pain,” which boasts a funky beat for the angst of a ruined relationship. It’s a great soundtrack for a breakup.