Madeleine Peyroux’s New Single: A Cross Between Billie Holiday and Hall & Oates?

peyroux1Madeleine Peyroux has often — and somewhat accurately — been described as a singer who channels Billie Holiday.

Her way laidback style of singing is sometimes quite expressive, albeit on other occasions her voice is paired with music that is deadly lethargic.

Marc Silver, in a piece on NPR, says that “You Can’t Do Me,” a single from Peyroux’s forthcoming CD, makes him feel “as if  Holiday and the self-proclaimed ‘rock and soul’ boys (Hall & Oates) had a musical moment.”

To my ears, the tune sounds more like Steely Dan, not Hall & Oates, is in the mix. That makes sense, given that Walter Becker co-wrote the song.

Madeleine Peyroux, \”You Can\’t Do Me\”

Read Silver’s review here.

The song was co-written by Peyroux, Becker, and album producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Holly Cole). The CD, Bare Bones is due for release March 10.

Silver’s review:

“Madeleine Peyroux Finds Rock And Soul

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 firecracker.”

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.”

5 thoughts on “Madeleine Peyroux’s New Single: A Cross Between Billie Holiday and Hall & Oates?

  1. Yep, and that effect was even more prominent at the start of her career.

    Back then, I caught her performance at a small club in Tampa. Listening to her debut CD, and hearing her in concert, it struck me that she was openly imitating Holiday, and that bothered me. Flattery is one thing, but …

    At any rate, I think she’s moved beyond that – now I hear the influence, but it doesn’t feel as much as if she’s simply aping Holiday’s vocal style and mannerisms.

  2. Yeah, I remember that Madeleine’s-gone-missing episode, too.

    I still don’t know if that was the real deal, or if it was akin to the Joaquin’s-quitting-the-movies thing, or maybe the Ryan’s-quitting-music-and-marrying-teenpop-stars thing.

  3. I can’t listen to Peyroux. Her take-off of Holiday is much to strong to ber merely a homage. It’s more like a party trick or an America’s Got Talent performance to be acceptable.

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