We gave it a D
Tanita Tikaram’s voice is incredibly arresting — for five minutes. On first listen, her world-weary alto suggests enough regret to give it the full appeal of a late-winter sunset. On second listen you’ll be the one full of regret. She sings every song in precisely the same way, exhaling into repetitive huffs of disillusionment. You could lift almost any vocal from any of her three albums, plop it into another song, and no one would be the wiser. The sole new twist on her latest record, Everybody’s Angel, is that she now makes her debt to Van Morrison more obvious. From the poignant horn punctuations to the chaste female backup vocals in tracks like ”Deliver Me” or ”Me in Mind,” Tikaram has stolen Morrison’s Celtic soul, though her melodies aren’t nearly as well formed as his. By necessity, one assumes, most are kept within the singer’s narrow-as-a-needle’s-eye vocal range. No wonder it now seems as if almost everything she had to say was said in her initial 1989 hit, ”Twist in My Sobriety” (a track so haunting it even survived a cover by Liza Minnelli). Tikaram’s vocal tone in that song was full of mourning. Now it just seems deadly.