Righteous Love: Joan Osbourne
Interscop / Universal
FIVE YEARS AGO, Joan Osborne burst on to the music scene with her major label debut, Relish. The success of her hit, One Of Us, and subsequent Grammy nominations were followed by the sort of lull that takes many first time stars out of the public eye and into one-hit wonder status.
However, Osborne is back with the album Righteous Love. It is a delight for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a growing spiritual dimension to her work.
Relish was notable for many reasons, but chief was the fact that her soulful and sultry alto wrapped itself around lyrics that had God as a reference point. However, a song like One Of Us, which posed the scenario of God as "just a slob like one of us; just a stranger on the bus" was the exception. More typical were more obtuse reference points. While anything but devotional, they remained fascinating for a Christian listener not used to hearing about God in a secular song.
This time around, there are still the reference points to God which are, themselves, something that make Osborne a rare secular artist. "You made my heart beat like God made the thunder," she sings in the mid-tempo minor chord groover, Angel Face, for instance.
However, there are far more indications on Righteous Love that God is the object of Osborne's quest. …