43:49 min • Me Jane Records • September 15, 2014
Nick Smith reviews
Perhaps best known for her evil turn as lizard-queen Diana in 1980s sci-fi classic V, it’s rather exciting to witness Jane Badler release her debut solo album this September. Opus sees Badler spawn an album of songs spanning a variety of musical styles with latin, cabaret, synth-pop, rock, jazz, eastern and soul all present.
Produced by Jeff Bova, whose alumni includes Blondie, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Cyndi Lauper, Meat Loaf and Billy Joel, Opus has Badler dealing with themes of loss, revenge, betrayal, spirituality and redemption in a wonderfully seductive and sultry way that almost feels like entrapment.
The album opens with the melancholy ‘Addicted’, which echoes Robbie Williams ‘Feel’, and Badler’s voice has all the sultry sass and seduction of Christina Amphlett. The title track ‘Opus’ is pure powerhouse and has a sweeping cinematic feel and perhaps storyboards the type of dangerous love affair akin to James Bond and Vesper Lynd.
You’re not who you’re supposed to be,
I see right through your smokescreen.
You fool the world, but you can’t fool me –
Such sentiments are echoed on the sensual and soulful, bittersweet ballad ‘Lover’ with shades of Tanita Tikaram’s ‘Twist In My Sobriety’.
One of the album’s highlights is ‘Losing You’, a beautiful, latin mid-tempo ballad exploring betrayal and redemption with a sultry cabaret feel. There is something magically ethereal about Jane’s vocal that lends something special to this track and the accompanying video is nothing short of spectacular.
There are some wonderful slices of synth-pop on Opus. Firstly, there is the acoustic marvel of ‘Volcano Boy’ and ‘Stuck On You’ is a pure ’80s, synth-pop stomper with a magnificent broken down chorus hook. The slow-synth melancholy of ‘Dead Eyes’ is beautifully reminiscent of the best of the ’80s, with nods to Yazoo.
The relentless pace of ‘Diamond Crimson Blood’ bemoans the mind games lovers can play and is perhaps a precursor to the epic ‘Return To Passion’, where Badler truly rocks out with a strong, defiant vocal. You can almost see her recording this in the studio in her leathers.
There is an astonishingly tongue-in-cheek exposé of the vapid side of the fashion world and society in ‘Fame’. This track has Badler going straight for the jugular and pulls no punches in a way Lady Gaga could only dream of,
Hermes, Chanel, Commes Des Garçons,
Stitch by stitch, you come undone –
The album’s closer is a true delight. The dark, bittersweet soundscape of ‘Black Dove’ echoes Massive Attack at their finest and explores themes of spirituality and mortality beautifully.
Although the subject matter may not be new territory, Opus is lifted by Badler’s unique and passionate style and her prowess across diverse musical styles. The album is a beautiful, bittersweet and ethereal journey and a wonderful insight into this lady’s chameleon-like flair for musical genres and songwriting.
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