Smooth Criminal (Music Thoughts: A Tribute To Michael Jackson, Margeaux Lampley)

mlmjThis album by Margeaux Lampley, ‘A Tribute to Michael Jackson’ was recommended to me by Spotify, and I could see why. My playlists are peppered by jazz vocalists and ‘world’ singers, and Ms. Lampley lives in Paris, though she is originally from Oakland, California. A jazz take on Michael Jackson songs? Kinda unique, I thought, and I am sure there are worse things in the world.

Ms. Lampley has a nice clear voice – kinda clean and she enunciates the lyrics clearly. She treats these songs fairly faithfully – I bet these songs inspire and intimidate her at the same time – and the arrangements verge more towards ‘smooth jazz,’ as there isn’t much edge to them. You get the usual suspects: ‘Thriller,’ ‘Ben,’ ‘Rock With You.’ But they all sound the same and seem to blend into one sound. It’s like watching a covers band (in this case a quartet) where you feel like you want to sing along to the songs and the main singer just blends into the background. I am sure Ms. Lampley has great musical personality. It just doesn’t show in this album.

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