Brooklyn Baby!

Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights

Limbostar Records, 2017

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


When Joanie Leeds moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn 2011, it proved to be a positive step for not only her personal life but her artistic life as well. For her eighth album, the songstress didn't feel the need to complicate matters; she simply took inspiration for her love of all things Brooklyn as she creates from the sounds, smells, and people she crosses daily in her borough. Much like her previous work, this new album is a genre-skipping, exciting, and fantastically fun ride through the creative recesses of a theater student turned musician with an imagination that channels your inner child. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Leeds starts the album off with the sound of seagulls on “Ferry Nice,” which is a sunny, upbeat pop-rocker with strong guitar work, before the sparse percussion and doo-wop soulfulness of “Subway.” “By Myself” strips things back with an acoustic folk tune with a gospel quality and plenty of backing vocals that brings in piano near the end.

After the first few songs, it becomes plain that Leeds is versed in plenty of genres, and that is further exemplified with the breezy Americana of “Stoop,” the hip-hop influence on “Library Book,” and the gorgeous soft rock of “Brooklyn Baby.”

The second half of the album maintains the playful consistency and expands even further into hip-hop with “Pizza” and even fuzzed-out punk rock on probably the loudest tune here, “Rainbow Bagels From Outer Space.” Leeds is at her best, though, when the music is calm and allows her flawless, soaring voice to shine, hitting notes all over the spectrum with warm perfection. This is especially true on “Love Is Love,” which is especially relevant in these trying political times.

Late album highlights include the spot-on and clever lyrics of “Hipster In The Making,” the country shuffling of “Apples In My Apples,” and the album closer, the soft and lush “Sunday Morning,” which is a great rendition of a Lou Reed tune.

Though her work might be classified as kids' music, there's something for everyone regardless of age here, and it's all done superbly.

Rating: A-

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© 2018 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Limbostar Records, and is used for informational purposes only.