Grace Jones | Hurricane

Wall of Sound/Play It Again
By ZETH LUNDY  |  September 7, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars

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There was a time when Grace Jones qualified as an '80s casualty; her last album came out in '89, and despite hits like "Nightclubbing" and "Pull Up to the Bumper," her reputation is more passé cultural enigma than pop star. Now — psyche! — she's the sexagenarian with the club-pop record of the year. Seriously: you'll probably refuse to believe me when I say that a one-time Bond villainess is behind this near-masterpiece, a collection of way-heavy grooves packed with wit, wisdom, and ballsier-than-ballsy vocal takes. Throughout, Jones gets help from heavy hitters like Sly & Robbie, Wendy & Lisa, Brian Eno, Tony Allen, and Tricky, whose massive noir-cinema attack permeates the bass guitar/rimshot backbeat of "This Is" and "Corporate Cannibal" — a "Maneater" for post–Bernie Madoff times. She hits ecstasy-pop highs in the autobiographical "Williams' Blood," rides reggae rhythms in "Sunset Sunrise," and merges the two in "Love You to Life." And sure, the songs on this thing were recorded throughout the '90s, and it was first released in the UK in 2009 — still, that doesn't mean the US release can't serve up its own reintroductions/revelations. (The two-disc US version includes a dub version of the entire record.) Fuck Hurricane Irene — Hurricane Grace is this year's force to be reckoned with.
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