Madeleine Peyroux Finds Rock And Soul

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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "You Can't Do Me"
  • Artist: Madeleine Peyroux
  • CD: Bare Bones
  • Genre: Pop
Madeleine Peyroux 300

In "You Can't Do Me," Madeleine Peyroux channels the spirit of Billie Holiday — and Hall & Oates. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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In the secret labs of music collaboration, where deceased singers are matched with living partners, has anyone ever tried to bring Billie Holiday and Hall & Oates together? Probably not, but when Lady Day enthusiast Madeleine Peyroux sings "You Can't Do Me," it's as if Holiday and the self-proclaimed "rock and soul" boys had a musical moment.

The song, from Peyroux's new album Bare Bones, starts with an insistent piano chord — very "Rich Girl." In her silkily melancholy voice, Peyroux tells her lover he can't "do" her the way he did before, because when he does, it makes her feel "bust like an Internet millionaire / boom like a Lebanese belly dancer / bang like a New Year's fireworker."

The droll list goes on, colored with a jaunty wah-wah guitar, organ trills and Peyroux's own delicate touches, such as the way she colors the word "blue" with aural shades of indigo. But instead of sounding like a vintage jazz singer, the way she usually does, Peyroux traffics more in rock and soul. Hall & Oates would be proud.

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Madeleine Peyroux

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