CD Dark Hope (CD 6954489),
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Dark Hope

  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2739699

  • Credits
    Producer
    Engineer

    It's fitting that Rene Fleming, "the people's diva," would make an album of pop songs that feels more like a labor of love than a crossover attempt. Dark Hope is filled with songs and arrangements that wouldn't appear on a typical attempt to bring a classical vocalist into the mainstream -- witness her dark, intricate take on the Mars Volta's "With Twilight as My Guide." It should almost go without saying that Fleming's voice is just as remarkable here as it is in her usual milieu, but the album proves time and again that she is game for just about anything. Fleming learned how to sing in the more intimate, confessional style that Dark Hope's singer/songwriter and alternative rock fare requires just for this project; combined with her interpretive gifts, she does a masterful job of remaining true to the spirit of the original songs while offering her own twists on them. Her voice dances over the wordy, syllable-heavy lyrics of Willy Mason's "Oxygen," she brings a mature moodiness to "Stepping Stone" that was lacking in Duffy's spitfire version, and she remains connected to the intimacy in the Arcade Fire's "Intervention" even as the song swells around her. Fleming is divinely torchy on Muse's "Endlessly," a standout track along with the subtly sultry electro-folk turn on Jefferson Airplane's "Today" and the urgent yet airy reading of Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body." Fleming deserves credit for undertaking such a bold enterprise. ~ Heather Phares

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