wonders Norman Warwick

Diana Ross is an American singer, songwriter and actress from Detroit, and is definitely more alive than Dr Liam Delougapopolopolous. She rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, who became Motown’s most successful act during the 1960s and one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. They remain the best-charting female group in history, with a total of twelve number-one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, including, Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Come See About Me, and Love Child´. Nevertheless, some of the music press has damned her latest album, tour and news of a major festival gig with faint praise.

Positive comments in Rolling Stone can lend great credibility to who or what might be under review. Whilst some music journos were recently quick to disdain the re-entry into our lives of Diana Ross, David Browne, in a Rolling Stone article was considerably more even handed.

Author David Browne, (left) is an American journalist and author. He is currently a senior writer at Rolling Stone, where he has been a contributor since 2008. He was the resident music critic at Entertainment Weekly between 1990 and 2006. He was an editor at Music & Sound Output magazine and a music critic at the New York Daily News before EW. He has written recently in Rolling Stone ofa new album by Fiana Eoss and her plans to support it.

´Ms Ross (right) and the army of songwriters and producers who helped make her new album, Thank You, seem well aware that those tracks — along with other moments, like the buoyantly discombobulated Upside Down or largely forgotten minor hits like Remember Me — remain Ross’ most enduring work on her own´, Mr. Browne reckoned.

´On Thank You, Team Ross assertively aims to recapture that vibe for the Soul Cycle era. Be they ballads or dance-floor throwdowns, the songs glisten with disco strings, sky’s-the-limit choruses, and super-crisp beats. Over them, Ross again returns to her role as pop therapist:  ´Jump off the edge/And find out where you land/Go take the lead/And teach the world to dance,´ she sings, in one typical example, or, elsewhere,  ´Lookin’ all around us/There’s so much potential/A little hope could inspire/If we ignite the passion, all to desire/That little spark becomes a fire´. You almost expect to be charged a membership fee for each listening session.

Those sentiments, which pretty much drive every one of the 13 tracks on Thank You (left), can feel oddly impersonal´, David Browne informs us, ´as if Ross isn’t conveying hard-earned life experience of her own but offering her fans a pep talk. (And given the last year and a half we’ve all had, maybe they need it.) From start to finish, she conveys them in a voice that sounds as airbrushed as some of the words; even though she’s 77, it’s hard to detect  a single lived-in crack in her delivery. It’s all part of the strange deja-vu experience that is Thank You. The songs feel familiar, as if they’ve even assembled from parts of previous hits. (There’s more than a little Endless Love in something like The Answer’s Always Love). Even some of lyrics here and there —´You say I’m just a dreamer´, ´The first time I saw your face´ — almost seem designed to evoke classic old-school pop hits by other artists of her heyday.

All that said, there’s still an inordinate deal of pleasure to be taken in music that wants to sweep you up and revel in sonic bliss, whether you’ve emerged from a still-lingering pandemic or not. You won’t find a more ebullient resurrection of the Studio 54 era than Tomorrow, and In Your Heart brings to mind the meditative dance tracks Madonna explored in the mid to late Nineties. During those moments of feather-bed glory, Thank You recalls a time when pop was proud to be pop, not therapy sessions set to simmer-level rhythms and nebulous hooks. Ross isn’t preaching about love hangovers, but she’s still looking to cure a few modern ills´.

And now Somerset Live (among other news agencies) say that organisers of Glastonbury Festival have confirmed that Diana Ross will be heading to Worthy Farm next summer.

She was previously due to take on the Sunday afternoon slot in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic saw the festival cancelled for two consecutive years. However, the Motown star will be taking on the famous Sunday legends slot on the Pyramid stage which will mark her debut at the festival.

At the age of 77, the singer will follow in the footsteps of previous legends such as Kylie Minogue, Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and others.

The American singer, songwriter and actress will bring to Somerset such hits such as I’m Coming Out, Upside Down, Endless Love and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (right)

The primary source for this article was an article published in Rolling Stone and written by David Browne.

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This article was collated by Norman Warwick, (right) a weekly columnist with Lanzarote Information and owner and editor of this daily blog at Sidetracks And Detours.

Norman has also been a long serving broadcaster, co-presenting the weekly all across the arts programme on Crescent Community Radio for many years with Steve, and his own show on Sherwood Community Radio. He has been a regular guest on BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio 4.

As a published author and poet he was a founder member of Lendanear Music, with Colin Lever and Just Poets with Pam McKee, Touchstones Creative Writing Group (where he was creative writing facilitator for a number of years) with Val Chadwick and all across the arts with Robin Parker.

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