Mísia Drama Box

Drama Box is all its name implies: pain, pleasure, heartache, love, loss, everything an album of mostly fado, with a little bolero and tango thrown in for good measure, could aspire to. Portugal-born artist Mísia has been pushing against the lid of the traditional fado box for years, bringing innovation to a rich song form, and her eighth disc is no exception. Every tune is sung in her classically smoky vocals that draw you into a cigarette-filled basement bar on any street where a beautiful woman in a slinky black dress croons from the darkness. She stands on that stage, backed by crystalline guitar, pulsing bass and the occasional silken strings, and pours emotion in its rawest form into each word and syllable, twisting the lines around the listener’s heart. "Gavoita Doente” has the most edgy presentation of the blues nature of the fado, and tango "Yo Soy Maria” offers a refreshingly complex instrumental background. A few random spoken word tracks take the drama a little too far into diva territory, but besides those missteps, it is a passionate, revealing and musically entrancing album. (Independent)