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

Ursula Rucker tall

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

itoggle 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

Ma'at Mama

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Ma'at Mama
Artist
Ursula Rucker
Label
K7
Released
2006

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.