Careless Love

Careless Love

4.5 12
by Madeleine Peyroux

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Eight years elapsed between Madeleine Peyroux’s first and second albums, but Careless Love misses nary a well-placed backbeat in continuing the sexy, soulful intimacy of her enchanting debut, Dreamland. Peyroux sings with an easy, unforced confidence; her voice slides between notes in a way that often recalls Billie Holiday, a debt explicitly


Eight years elapsed between Madeleine Peyroux’s first and second albums, but Careless Love misses nary a well-placed backbeat in continuing the sexy, soulful intimacy of her enchanting debut, Dreamland. Peyroux sings with an easy, unforced confidence; her voice slides between notes in a way that often recalls Billie Holiday, a debt explicitly acknowledged on “No More” and ”This is Heaven To Me,” songs Holiday also covered. But Peyroux doesn’t have a slavish allegiance to the past; she’s more an old soul than a reactionary archivist, and she’s as much at home singing “Between the Bars,” written by indie-rock’s Elliott Smith, as singing “Careless Love” and “Don’t Cry Baby,” songs associated with blues great Bessie Smith. Produced by Larry Klein, who has worked with the similarly gifted Holly Cole, Careless Love relies on jazzy guitar, piano, and organ that swing softly, whether on Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Time,” Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome when You Go,” or Hank Williams’s “Weary Blues.” It’s a testament to Peyroux’s own songwriting ability that “Don’t Wait Too Long,” the sole original here, holds up in such lofty company. And it’s a testament to her understated vocal talents that the album seamlessly blends country, blues, jazz, and pop as Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson have done during Peyroux's hiatus.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Why it took vocalist Madeleine Peyroux eight years to follow up her acclaimed Dreamland album is anybody's guess. The explanation from her website bio claims, "I could have kept running with it, but I took a breather." Really it hardly matters, since there have been plenty of capable singers to fill that void. Produced by Larry Klein, Careless Love is essentially Dreamland part deux. She lost Yves Beauvais and Atlantic Records, as well as a stellar cast of edgy jazz and rock session players, but she did gain Larry Klein. There are some fine players on this album, including Larry Goldings, Scott Amendola, David Piltch, and Dean Parks, and it's a much more focused set than Dreamland. That she's on Rounder is just an "oh well." Since Klein is not reined in by having to be a "jazz" producer, his sense of restrained and subtle adventure is a perfect foil for Peyroux's voice and phrasing, which is still too close to the Billie Holiday model for comfort. The material is a curious collection of modern pop songs, country tunes, and old nuggets. There's an original as well in "Don't Wait Too Long," co-written with Jesse Harris and Klein. Peyroux's reading of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" that opens the disc is radical, sung like a German cabaret song, and lacks the drama of the original, which is on purpose but it's questionable as to whether it works. Her cover of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" works much better. It keeps the breeziness of the original but focuses on the object of the song still being very present to the protagonist -- delighting in the presence of the Beloved. Parks' guitars play sparely and pronouncedly in the mix, as Amendola's brushwork complements the spare cymbal and tom-tom work of Jay Bellerose as well as Goldings' in-the-groove organ and piano. The hinge track on this record is the empathic and moving version of Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars." With tense sound effects whispering in the backdrop and Goldings' celeste setting the atmosphere, once again Amendola's brushes whisper and shimmer, giving the singer an anchor in the depth of the song's melancholy. It's simply awesome. The sparse haunted treatment of Hank Williams' "Weary Blues" is devoid of its country trappings and rooted firmly in the uptown blues tradition of Holiday's 1940s. Likewise, the title track, a classic standard by W.C. Handy, is turned inside out and made a gospel-flavored R&B tune, driven by Goldings on the organ and a Rhodes piano -- an instrument that makes a frequent appearance here. Parks' subtle yet dirty guitar gives the singer a platform and she swims inside the lyric, letting it fall from her mouth. The tune's swing quotient is formidable. In all, this is a stronger record than Dreamland, in part because Klein is obviously sympathetic to singers and because Peyroux is a more confident and commanding singer. It's a welcome addition to the shelf, but if she waits another eight years, that space reserved for her may disappear.

Product Details

Release Date:
Rounder / Umgd

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Madeleine Peyroux   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Larry Goldings   Piano,Celeste,Hammond Organ,Pump Organ,Wurlitzer,Hammond B3
Dean Parks   Guitar
David Piltch   Bass
Lee Thornburg   Trumpet
Scott Amendola   Percussion
Jay Bellerose   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Leonard Cohen   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
James P. Johnson   Composer
W.C. Handy   Composer
Dylan Thomas   Author
Gene Austin   Composer
Larry Klein   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Martha E. Koenig   Composer
Bob Russell   Composer
Nat Shilkret   Composer
Hank Williams   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
Jesse Harris   Composer
Madeleine Peyroux   Composer,Liner Notes
Elliott Smith   Composer
Vincent Scotto   Composer
Helix Hadar   Engineer
Frank Reardon   Composer
Ernest Schweikert   Composer
Saul Bernie   Composer
George Cory   Composer
Douglass Cross   Composer
Stella Unger   Composer
Henri Varna   Composer

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Careless Love 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eight years! Eight years, but she's back with a very beautiful record. Thank you Madeleine. But i don't know if I can wait eight years for your next record.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album reminds of the early recordings of the legendary Billie Holiday, which until today, no one has been able to match. It's worth a listen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never heard of M. Peyroux before I was browsing the B&N "new CD" area for some new music, but I was pleasantly surprised to find her. I am not really familiar with Billie Holiday or the other artists she is compared to, and have not really been listening to this kind of music before, but I think she is remarkable all in herself. I think the best use of this album is to get some wine, relax, and unwind from the day, or just think about life. For me the music is somewhat reminiscent to Norah Jones.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this album last week having long since stopped looking for a new album by Ms Peyroux. It has been played many times since! A wonderful album. Her voice has "aged" beautifully since Dreamland and she takes this album beyond simply being an extension of her first album. There isn't a weak cut on the album. So nice to have her back!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madeleine Peyroux is a wonder. A prodigy musician who played in the streets of Paris with the legendary Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band, she has Paris and the Riviera as well as American rural blues steeped in her wise, worldly, and utterly heartstopping voice. We had the privilege of hearing her play live in Brooklyn recently, and not only is she just as good with a lousy PA and too many people in front of you, she's also beautiful, humble, funny, and really, really nice. I gave this album to everyone I know for Christmas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is indeed a masterpiece. Madeleine has done it again. Should I wait for another eight years for her next masterpiece?
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is and will only be ONE Billie Holiday. Why buy a cheap imitation when you can have the real thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a little startled when I first listened to this cd. Ms. Peyroux has a very unusual voice that can be a bit distressing at first. However, I gave the cd a second listen and found I loved it. Her voice is foggy and beautiful, giving the songs she sings a wonderful uniqueness. I heartily recommend this lady's music to all and sundry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm in love with this CD. Can't stop playing it over and over... I highly recommend it to all GOOD music lovers.
Little_Chief More than 1 year ago
A beautiful album with Madeleine's soft round tones soothing your ears, your house, your restaurant, your anything you want! Impress your dinner party guests with this fabulous album. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with a glass of red wine and Careless Love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago