Thrilled am I for British crooner V.V. Brown‘s new album, Lollipops & Politics, due to drop in February. After respectful success in 2010 of her fantastic debut album, Traveling Like the Light, Brown seems to have dropped the Motown girl group sound, war paint, headdress, Mardi Gras mask, and gotten back to basics. Her gig at Mercury Lounge was only her second performance of the new material ever. Getting there was a journey. I dashed out of a client meeting in Indianapolis, changed clothes in the taxi (oddly, my cabbie named Darla gave me her number) and barely caught my flight back to New York to make the 7:30 curtain call. I made it with time for a Quilmes and to meet up with friends.
She opened with a song called “Tough Like Glue” which I interpreted as her new self empowerment anthem that sets the tone for the album. Another song called “Famous” came next followed by “Red Balloon,” “Be Yours” and “Like Fire,” all off the new record. The first of two jams from her last record was “Quick Fix” which got me dancing. “Circus Town” really caught my ear. I loved this song and it made me so anxious to get my hands on her new material for my iPod. I don’t know if I can wait three more months. Then she played her best known song, “Shark in the Water,” but in a very silky, innocent, stripped down version. Simply marvelous. Her voice sounds so good, healthy, mature, and oh so effortless. When I thought the best of her new stuff had been played, she performed “10 Feet Tall,” which I think will be my favorite. To end her set, she performed her latest single, “Children (Keep on Singing).” At the end of her set, V.V. shouted out to the crowd, “what do you think of my new music?” Yours truly hollered back from the front row, “it’s beautiful!” She looked at me, smiled and said, “thanks, man,” in her gorgeous British accent. Sigh.