Personnel: Annie Lennox (vocals, keyboards); Stephen Lipson (guitar, keyboards, programming); Kenji Jammer (guitar); Gavin Wright (violin); Peter-John Vettese (recorder, keyboards, programming); Dave Defries (trumpet); Ed Shearmur (piano); Marius De Vries (keyboards, programming); Paul Moore (keyboards); Doug Wimbish (bass); Keith LeBlanc (drums); Louis Jardim (percussion); Steve Jansen (programming).
Principally recorded at Mayfair Studios, London, England.
Direct from the popular synth-pop band the Eurythmics, Annie Lennox spreads her artistic wings on DIVA. An impressive solo debut, DIVA runs the gamut from rock epic to confessional ballad.
Depending on the song's sentiment, Lennox can be commanding or gentle, icy or tender. Always in control of the intricate dynamics, she is a diva who knows how to work through the subtleties of a lyric while soaring through demanding vocals.
"Why" is a soul-bearing narrative, building and bursting with passion and regret. Other highlights include the staccato string-driven "Walking On Broken Glass," the foot-tapping "Little Bird" and the languid, bluesy "Cold." There's a humorous CD bonus track, the straight-outta-the-'30s "Keep Young And Beautiful" ("...if you want to be loved...").
Lennox's lyrics are sharp and insightful, and bode well for a substantial solo career. Even a potentially over-the-top ode like "Precious" works because of her credible delivery and Whitney-worthy vocals. Lennox definitely moves up to the rank of DIVA, without the vain vocal histrionics that often accompany that title.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.56) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (6/25/92, p.41) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...state-of-the-art soul pop...sonically gorgeous...her most mature music yet...the album's sure, smooth funk confirms that among blue-eyed soulsisters, she ranks high..."
Spin (7/92, p.75) - Highly Recommended
Q (1/93, p.72) - Included in Q's list of the 50 Best Albums Of 1992.
Q (5/92, p.79) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...a consistent blend of artistry and popular appeal...has the austere beauty of early Eurythmics..."