When an artist is going through serious drama and lets that inform their latest project, you can get a mewling pityfest, or you get something transcendent and razorsharp. Well, La Lennox is going through some serious emotional turmoil, and Bare, the end result, is a stunning piece of work. Few contemporary divae can top Lennox when it comes to vocal arrangements, and this album spans from wrenching smoky lilt (album closer "Prayer," which leaves any listener with a soul concerned for Annie) to gospel holler (the sterling "Pavement Cracks") and everything in between, letting the listener experience from several differnet angles the fallout from the collapse of Lennox's marriage.
Longtime producer Stephen Lipson keeps the songs focused on Lennox's voice, and the production is suitably amorphous, absorbing elements of dance, cabaret, pageant anthem melodrama, and lite jazz in its overall sound (though would it have killed them to get a live harmonica player instead of playing it on a synthesizer?), leaving the whole effort equally versatile for drunken loneliness or formal brunches.