NPR logo A Bulletproof Diva Spells Out 'L.O.V.E.'

A Bulletproof Diva Spells Out 'L.O.V.E.'


  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Strident provocateur Ursula Rucker softens her message on "L.O.V.E." Steve Belkowitz hide caption

toggle caption
Steve Belkowitz

Thursday's Song

  • Song: "L.O.V.E."
  • Artist: Ursula Rucker
  • CD: Ma'at Mama
  • Genre: R&B/Spoken Word

Sometimes, even the most assiduous socio-political commentators rejoice in the brighter side of life. "L.O.V.E.," the divine closing track on Ursula Rucker's Ma'at Mama, may come as a surprise to those accustomed to her incendiary prose: After tackling everything from gang violence to the No Child Left Behind program, Rucker offers a moment of respite.

Here, she retreats from provocative accounts of rape and revenge or apocalyptic tales of global decay, as she intones over a jazzy groove, "On this day, there will be no talk of war, or politic, or disaster, or death / Love is alive today, so we will speak only of love." Still, Rucker refuses to delve into the mawkish. As the music crests with grinding electric guitars, she adheres to her no-nonsense outlook: "It won't be that Hollywood type of love / Not TV love, not dime-store-novel love, and certainly not mainstream-music love."

To Rucker, real love is the kind "that has been worked on like gardens and term papers" and "that falls, crashes, even burns, but dusts off, fixes up, and rises, rises more brilliant than before." Through her crisp enunciation and strident rhythmic flow, Rucker still comes across as a bulletproof diva, even as "L.O.V.E." provides a glimpse of vulnerability.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Related NPR Stories

Purchase Featured Music

Buy Featured Music

Ma'at Mama
Ursula Rucker

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?