The eleven songs on Madeleine Peyroux’s Bare Bones, her fourth album, sound as though they are old ballads, yet they are all new tunes she has co-written. Like Billie Holiday, Peyroux knows how songs would like to be sung and how to make the lyrics come to life even though she interprets them in such a laid-back sensitivity. Unlike Lady Day, however, Peyroux sways us to look on the shinier side of life.
Stripping the emotional core down to its bare bones, Peyroux relaxes her flow as she encourages us to do the same with our lives. “Stop all this talk / Turn off the telephone / Open up another bottle,” she advises on “River of Tears.” “Instead of acting crazy chasin’ things that make you mad / Keep your heart ahead it’ll lead you back to what you have,” she suggests on “Instead.” On “Homeless Happiness,” she sounds like she had lived it: “A bench by the shore a coat for my pillow / A future with no guarantee / The world was a rat race and I had my fill oh / No hurries no worries for me.”
Except for “You Can’t Do Me,” the only track that gets a notch of rock up, the fantastic instrumentations allowed her words to shine through. Producer Larry Klein doesn’t allow the accompaniments to overshadow Peyroux’s hypnotic vocals. As a result, Bare Bones is a perfect record for kicking back, slowing down and enjoying life.