Thursday, 5 February 2009

Donnie - The Daily News - Dome

Donnie burst through with ‘The Colored Section’ and though the album was a steady seller, no one pretended it was an easy lesson. Back now with ‘The Daily News’, the listenings even harder. With song titles like ‘9/11’, ‘Suicide’ and ‘The Atlanta Child Murders’ you wouldn’t expect an easy ride would you? Well you don’t get one. Donnie’s lyrics throughout are edgy, provocative and even aggressive (have a listen to the ‘hidden’ track ‘Blue Eyed Soul’); the melodies often seem at odds with the sentiment – but that only adds to the tension while Steve Harvey’s production is right on the edge – innovative and challenging. Put it all together and you’ve got real modern soul – many miles away from the cheery sound we’ve come to expect from the Dome label. Musically ‘The Daily News’ is hard to pigeon-hole. Like all great soul, here you’ll find elements of jazz. blues, gospel, hip hop and old school soul. In places (like ‘Suicide’ and ‘Mason-Dixon Line’) you’ll be reminded of Stevie Wonder at his peak. Indeed if this was a Stevie album it would be hailed over the place – as it, because Donnie’s not a major player, the big media outlets choose to ignore him –but that’s another story. Highlights? Well there’s plenty and what you choose will depend on your mood at the time. I like ‘9/11 – with a pretty melody it makes the point that no matter your beliefs, the events of that day affected us all; the harmonica work on ‘If I Were You’ is a delight – it comes with a great radio friendly re-mix too – but like I said will it ever get played? Doubt it – but that’s the mainstream’s loss. Soul people can savour the secret.

Bill Buckley

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