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Samantha James

Rise

(Om; US: 25 Sep 2007; UK: 24 Sep 2007)

The LA-based James scored a considerable dance hit with the title track to this, her debut album. “Rise” is the most catchy thing here, but the rest isn’t far off the mark—sultry yet earnest, mature dance-pop, given a sharp, clean polish by producer ROCAsound. James has been compared to Sade, Basia, and their ilk. Though her sound is more overtly danceable, her effortlessly romantic delivery makes her a reasonable successor, especially on the sultry “Breathe You In”. Throughout, James’ voice toes the line between blissful and laconic, sometimes hitting on both simultaneously. Thankfully, there’s not a bit of melisma to be found. The tasteful execution probably makes Rise sound more substantial than it really is, but still suggests James is worth keeping an eye on.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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Samantha James - Rise (unofficial video)
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