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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Alana Davis Has Good Fortune

Alana Davis has returned with her sophomore album Fortune Cookies, a bit wiser and a tad funkier. Davis’ popularity soared in 1997 when she emerged as the voice behind Ani DiFranco’s “32 Flavors.” With her raspy vocal ache and evocative guitar licks, Davis proved to be one of the year’s best woman musicians (Time magazine named her debut album, Blame it on Me, one of the year’s best albums). So, after four years, she has returned with cynical, yet sage lyrics backed by her guitar and a much smoother, studio-perfected sound.

This time around, Davis has added a different sound to her album by working with The Neptunes on “Bye Bye (a.k.a. My Life). The song is a “sayonara” to someone who’s “heart is as cold as ice.” Davis surprises us by introducing another side of her voice-a soprano range. This is one tune on the album that sounds nothing like anything Davis has done before. She doesn’t ditch her guitar, instead, she invites an entire band to back her but she does ditch her raspy voice to go for a more pop sound.

Aware of the sampling and covering that goes on in the hip hop world, Davis decides to take on that challenge and re-works “Friends” by Houdini. Davis returns to her comfort zone wrapping her signature vocals around a hip-hop beat and indelible lyrics. “Friends” and “Bye Bye (a.k.a. My Life)” are two of the best songs on the album revealing how much Davis has evolved as a musician. She proves with these two songs, in particular, that she is capable of changing her sound, yet still making the songs her own.

For those fans that are looking for Davis’ old sound, this album will also please. Much of the album still contains Davis and her guitar, backed only by a drumbeat. These tunes are recognizably hers with her comparisons to nature and longing for love, but Davis has clearly grown up singing, “And it’s not my choice to be alone, but I’ve come too far now to go back home, on my own it’s no fun to roam.” Her fans will see the young New Yorker and self-proclaimed homebody coming to a realization about being alone and accepting it.

Davis does not write all the songs on her album alone; she has help from the likes of Stephen Jenkins and Ed Tuton (who also produced most of the album). No matter who wrote the lyrics to any song on this album, Davis is able to convey loneliness or happiness as her own. Her singing is passionate, her guitar playing is direct, and her fans will feel what she’s feeling in every song.

Alana Davis’ second time around should prove to be a success. Fortune Cookies is an album that can relax you with songs like “I Don’t Care (Lonesome Road)” or keep you bobbing your head to songs like “I Want You.” Never selling out, she has kept her original sound and successfully adds new elements that will prove that Davis is a powerful musician with a wide range of ability in all types of music from folk to funk to hip-hop.