Urban Contemporary, 2003
I have always loved Des’ree and her brand of feel-good happy music. There is a refreshing unpretentious feel to her music – she genuinely wants to make her listeners feel happy. Dream Soldier, her first CD in four years, is musically similar to her previous CDs. There is nothing new here that will change the world, save it, or upset it. Still, I like this CD a lot.
The first single It’s Okay is not the best choice of single, if you ask me: it’s a monotonous and formulaic Des’ree affair with lyrics that will embarrass even the most overwrought poetry-writing, journal-keeping prepubescent. “A busy day got a lot to do/A heavy head you think you’ve caught the flu,” Des’ree sings, and I wonder whether she’s really serious. The problem with this CD, like most of the music of Des’ree, is always in the words. It’s bad enough that Des’ree confuses “Your” with “You’re”, if the lyrics in the CD booklet is any indication, but gems like “Tell me, do you fly in your dreams? Yeah/And uh, tell me, are you paralysed when you scream?” (Righteous Might) will more likely elicit a “WTF?” moment from the listener instead of an earnest nod of the head.
Still, there is an inherent jovial and bouncy quality to all the tracks here that makes this CD perfect to be played in quiet times when one needs some cheering up. Producers Kevin Bacon (no, not that Kevin Bacon) and Jonathan Quarmby, along with Des’ree, manage to shake things up with interesting tracks to highlight Des’ree’s sultry yet warm vocals. Human seems to sample a little of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and the result is a creamy musical mocha that brings a pleasant warmth to the soul. Des’ree doesn’t sing about darker emotions, she writes happy awkward little sonnets about overcoming them, but if the result is the lovely and uplifting Nothing to Lose, I really can’t complain.
While her music in Dream Soldier is on the safe and predictable side, Des’ree is single-handedly bringing back idealism into the increasingly cynical and manufactured music industry in her charming Earth Mother, Love Thy Universe way. I really can’t help but to admire her for it. Sometimes, Des’ree assures her listener, life isn’t so bad and the world is a happy place if we all love each other. Bah humbug, naturally, but Des’ree makes it so easy for me to believe her.