By Cait Brennan, Nov. 6, 2014.

Annie Lennox | Nostalgia | Blue Note | 

No matter how revolutionary they were at the outset, it seems every artist is destined to make an album of standards. There was certainly nothing standard about the sensational Annie Lennox when “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” took over MTV, and her solo debut Diva was an exciting reinvention and an instant classic of its own. True to form, Lennox takes on the classics in Nostalgia with a powerhouse vocal performance and a timely set of tunes.

The opener, “Memphis In June,” starts off sounding like an old-time 78 rpm record spinning on your great-grandma’s Victrola, but soon blooms into a lush orchestral sound. Lennox delivers soulful turns on blues and jazz standards like “Georgia On My Mind,” “Summertime,” and such reverent, emotionally-charged Billie Holiday standards as “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless The Child.”

Lennox is at her best when she steps away from the reverence and lets sparks fly, like when she tears it up on the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins favorite “I Put A Spell On You,” and her simple, tender take on “The Nearness Of You.”   

Annie Lennox has never sounded better, and these mostly pre-World War II songs, which reach back to a complex era not unlike our own, have never felt more timely.

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