What caught most people’s attention about Anjani’s third release, Blue Alert, was that her boyfriend, celebrated poet Leonard Cohen had produced it.
Most of the lyrical imagery of Blue Alert was inspired by snippets of Cohen’s poetry. For example, the title track was based on one line that Anjani had found on Cohen’s desk: “There’s perfume burning in the air, bits of beauty everywhere.” Based on that track, the two decided to collaborate and Cohen’s words were reworked to fit Anjani’s haunting arrangements.
Anjani’s semi-jazz songs are wonderfully subtle, using only bits of baritone sax, bass, and drums. The focus is wholly put on her slight piano touches and compassionate, yet sultry voice. Mixing engineer Ed Sanders must be given credit here, as he patiently mixes the music much quieter then Anjani’s vocals. The desired effect leaves the listener hypnotized on what is being sung.
However, upon first listen, Anjani’s songs sounded a bit too stark, but with multiple listens I grew to love the stories of desire presented on Blue Alert and the relaxing sway of the music. Still, the lack of a Cohen duet is the one major disappointment of Blue Alert. But I dare say, you can almost picture him smiling through the smoky bar of “No One After You” — a track that could have come right off of Cohen’s 2004 release, Dear Heather.
Blue Alert is a perfect fall release (although released in May) as it’s full of images of longing and restarting anew – but it’s definitely one for the broken-hearted. (Columbia/Sony BMG) Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Stars