Everybody seems to love Gina Sicilia’s new album, Tug of War. Me?I just like it. On a scale of 1-5 stars,I would give it 3 1/2/
In its favor, Sicilia has a beautiful voice. Her songwriting is strong, especially on the song, “I Dont Want to Be In Love.” which she co-wrote with producer Dave Darling, and the next song, “Damaging Me.” She says she has been through a lot in the last three years, and that emotion comes through in the lyrics in this mostly tear-themed album,
That’s OK. Thats what the blues us about: singing from the heart. My problem is that Gina is such a technically proficient singer, who admittedly likes to modulate her vocals, that even though I know her emotions were rel, they don’t sound real. I want to hearsome rawness, some loss of control for at least a few seconds. And I don’t. The closest she comes to breaking out is on the anthem, “I’ll Stand Up” which is pretty powerful.
An example of what I mean is Sicilia’s cover of “He Called Me Baby,” a Patsy Cline song. I quite like it, but when I think of the passion in Cline’s version, I like it better.
I think I prefer Sicilia’s voice on the more upbeat tunes. “Never Gonna End,” while the lyrics still refer to the trials of recovering from heartbreak has a great, classic soul sound and it is a great song. And my favorite song on the album is her cover of The Excuters’ “Tell Him” from 1962. I would love to hear her do more vintage soul and pop like that.
The song that I dislike most is her version of Lennon-McCartney’s “All My Lovin'”This is probably a personal thing also, because I am a life-long Beatles fan and while I don’tmind when artists change the arrangements, but turning that happy, hopeful song into a slow, sad ballad just does not work.
So for me, it’s just good, but not great. I will still listen to it sometimes, but it’s not in my favorites.