Joan Osborne (Interscope)
Album of the week
It has been five years since Osborne released her major-label debut, Relish, a critically acclaimed collection that went triple-platinum, garnered six Grammy nominations (including Album of the Year) and spawned one of the truly great singles of the ’90s, the Top 10 hit “One of Us.” That kind of breakthrough can set expectations impossibly high for a new artist—which, along with a label switch, perhaps explains why Osborne’s follow-up has been such a long time coming.
But instead of falling forever into the “whatever happened to…” category of countless one-hit wonders, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has reemerged powerfully with Righteous Love. Although there is nothing here as transcendent as “One of Us,” there is plenty to remind us of the earthy talent that led critics to hail her as the next Bonnie Raitt. Osborne remains a raw and raspy blues-rocker on “Safety in Numbers,” “Baby Love” and the haunting ballad “Angel Face,” while Eastern influences spice up “If I Was Your Man,” “Hurricane” and the ironically titled “Running Out of Time.” Turns out that time was on her side, after all.
Bottom Line: Well worth the wait