An album made up of covers is a tricky proposition. Things can go a few ways: The remake can be a gratuitous note-for-note number with no point, a drastic reworking that loses the heart of the original or, in the best case scenario, a refreshing interpretation that both pays respect to the source while bringing new perspective to the table. Maysa — the former Stevie Wonder backup singer and vocalist for UK funk group Incognito — is up to the challenge.
Love Is a Battlefield is a ten-track covers album of pop and R&B numbers stretching from the modern day back to the 1970s. The title track, of course, is the Pat Benatar classic: Here, it gets a soulful and jazzy reworking that's pleasant enough, but doesn't fully capture the intensity of the original. Tracks like "Am I Dreaming" (Atlantic Starr), "Footsteps in the Dark" (Isley Brothers) and "Mr. Dream Merchant" (New Birth) fare better; the overall exercise is breezy, tailor-made for the Quiet Storm set.
Maysa isn't too challenged by the material, but the effortlessness here makes it refreshing, even if Love Is a Battlefield is only something to tide us over until a new studio full-length release. (Shanachie)