25 July 2011

Review: Asa 'Beautiful Imperfection'

Beautiful Imperfection

Beautiful Imperfection is the second album from Nigeria-raised, Paris-based singer-songwriter Asa (pronounced 'Asha'). While her gentle blend of soulful reggae rhythms and straight-up pop sensibility is nothing new, Asa's warm, husky, inviting vocals provide real magic - recalling Macy Gray mixed with Nina Simone. She also has a knack for knowing when not to sing, never over-reaching yet imparting every bit as much emotion as the average hyper-inflated vocoder chorus from commercial radio. While her self-titled major label debut from three years back linked the socially conscious music of Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and Bob Marley with contemporary soulful R&B, Beautiful Imperfection sees Asa step back from any overly political or philosophical lyrical content and focus on crafting a highly enjoyable listening experience. Imagine a musically adept and classy Lily Allen crossed with a hip Katie Melua, mixing lyrics in English and Yoruba, and you're getting near the beautiful imperfection of Asa.

3 and 1/2 stars from 5

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