2010 has been a quiet renaissance for powerful female voices instyles and genres that have long deserved some reconstruction -Robyn brought back fizzy synthpop hedonism, JanelleMon�e released one of the most forward thinking soul records of thelast decade, and Nicki Minaj has successfully transformedherself from a bratty, schoolyard-rap blip to a full-fledged star.These women have not only dominated ears with their distinctivepersonalities, but they’ve also turned their particular scene’scommunity on its head, vicariously demanding listeners on a universalscale to pay attention to them.
Meanwhile, Caro Edward has already taken over an entire countryunder most of our noses. The Dutch jazz singer’s debut recordDeleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor spent (and continues tospend) an unprecedented 27 weeks at Number 1 on the Netherlandschart – and it’s easy to see why. With her piping, playful voice, thelascivious, noir-touched bounce of the backing band and the off-kilter,star-crossed elements she brings into the mix, Deleted Scenes hasfound a one-in-a-million niche that can appeal to everyone fromblog-obsessed audiophiles, department store soundtracks, and yourmother’s five-CDs-a-year shopping habit.
Caro finds her charm in a fairly obvious way; she takes theheart-pounding, smoky-lounged, crowd-whistling side of jazz and makesthat the backbone of her music. There’s nothing abstract here in theliteral sense. The Other Woman, a snaky murder ballad about, yes,being ‘the other woman’ could easily be a James Bond theme – equippedwith midnight-district guitar and velvety big-band swings. She singsin barely-disguised allusions to sex, and often gives off the samelookin’-for-trouble femme fatale charms that everyone from Theda Barato Missy Elliott specialized in, but instead of calling out”Hey, DJ! Turn it up!” she’s cooing “Mr Bandleader! This arrangementhas to change!”.
But amazingly, there are DJs on Deleted Scenes; ashocking majority of the songs feature a significant amount of recordscratching, which is sure to take plenty of listeners by surprise.Take opener That Man; for the first two minutes it’s a sultry,low-key, gentleman’s club staple, with Caro scatting along to thehigh-hat tapping jangle. But then out of nowhere, her voice startscutting back and forth across a previously-hidden needle. At first thesheer audacity of such an odd choice of aesthetic might make it sounda little gimmicky, but on repeated listens the squiggles and cuts ofthe turntable work remarkably well with the stuffed-up mega-jazztextures of the rest of the album. It’s a natural fit and evolutionfor a genre that’s been roadblocked for quite some time.
Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room may not have the samemagnitude as something like Mon�e’s The ArchAndroid does, but they reach thesame end. Both offer an indomitable, unique, and easily liked femalepresence that, by the end of the record, you can’t help but feel sweptup in. Caro Emerald embraces the timeless unpretentious pleasure-centre side ofvocal jazz while incorporating enough of her own tricks to make it allsound new. That’s a moreish recipe no matter which genre you’re talkingabout.