Now don't get me wrong - I love Holly Cole. Having caught her live act and locked much of her catalogue firmly in my CD collection, Holly is always able to take a dose of sultry vamp, add a few comic barbs, a smooth jazzy twist, and make an intoxicating music cocktail. Love, love, love Holly Cole.
BUT something just went wrong with this one.
Having stuck with the jazz format for years, Holly had begun to stray further a field in recent years with Temptation and the simply stellar pop gem, Dear Dark Heart. Having loved her new direction, I couldn't wait to see her take DDH a step further or at least pull it off again.
But with Romantically Hopeless, Holly apparently took over two years to make the record and it shows. Holly's strength has always been taking covers of overlooked songs and making them her own. For some reason here she seems to have lost her inspiration, going back to a lot of stale well-worn jazz standards like Come Fly With Me, Don't Fence Me In, and That Old Black Magic - and doesn't do much with them to make you forget other versions. She even does an unnecessary remake of Make It Go Away from her last album. A couple tracks like If I Start to Cry are standouts but do little to make this one a must buy. Hopefully next time out Holly can regroup and bring back more of the magic.