Picks and Pans Review: Kind Hearted Woman
Playing in a musical league of her own, Michelle Shocked is one of America's very few pop performers who are truly graced by inspiration. Her songs, though almost always freighted with political implications, are as deeply, intelligently personal as '90s pop music gets. As she proved with "Anchorage," her hit single from her 1988 album Short Sharp Shocked, she is capable of writing radiantly serene songs. But with a taut, three-piece backing band helping turn her terse, shadow-flooded poems into stripped-down, driving rock and roll, there is little on Kind Hearted Woman that can be called serene. "Stillborn," about a stillbirth's effect on a midwife, is scary, with intimations of insanity; in "A Child like Grace," death steals a beloved daughter. Not exactly cheerful, but exhilarating, as only perfectly crafted and performed distillations of complex emotions can be. (Private Music).