French-Israeli singer Keren Ann returns after a five-year silence with her most focused, urgent record yet | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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French-Israeli singer Keren Ann returns after a five-year silence with her most focused, urgent record yet

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After releasing her middling 2011 album, 101, and giving birth to her first child, French-Israeli singer Keren Ann largely retreated from the music business apart from some work in theater and film. In 2016 she returned with her strongest effort in years, You’re Gonna Get Love (Polydor), which sadly hasn’t been released in the U.S. Working with producer Renaud Letang (who’s wracked up credits with Feist, Amadou & Mariam, and Jarvis Cocker) and benefiting from arrangements by Brazilian great Eumir Deodato, she maintains the placid, shimmering beauty of her past work. She summons the soaring poeticism of Leonard Cohen on “The Separated Twin” (with its bald evocations of “Hallelujah”), and on the druggy languor of “My Man Is Wanted but I Ain’t Gonna Turn Him In,” she seductively decides to go down in flames with a lover on the run from the law. But this record stands on its own, thanks to the injection of unexpected raw bite both on pretty ballads and on driving tunes where taut grooves toggle between rhythmic propulsion and limber sprawl. “Easy Money,” an austere portrait of an ex-lover lost in the grip of drugs and sex, throbs with a Can-like pulse, while the slinking title track has an insistent thrum that seems to reinforce its themes of the frustrations of trying to forge a connection. Keren Ann’s songs address love in shifting contexts—healthy or destructive, nurturing or romantic, present or missing—with an impressive sense of economy and directness. In interviews she’s said they aren’t about motherhood, but the newfound urgency of the songs on You’re Gonna Get Love suggests that since her last release she’s gained a greater appreciation for life. She’s not pussyfooting around, and that’s made all of the difference in the world.   v

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