‘Thank You’ is the new album from Diana Ross. 13 tracks in a variety of musical styles, it’s got something for probably everyone in it, and it’s very easy to lose yourself in the music.
The album establishes itself from the start as being one of thanks, and sets itself up as the soundtrack of the festive season, which – in the US at least, is about to start at the end of this month, with Thanksgiving. Each track is a thank you to someone; whether it be God, fans, her friends, and family, we each have a place in Miss Diana Ross’s heart, and she’s full of praise for us all.
And when I say she, I mean it. I don’t know why I presumed otherwise, but Diana Ross has had more than a small hand in the songwriting of every song on ‘Thank You’. Every song feels deeply personal, and resonates with the listener, so it becomes all the more meaningful to learn that the songs come from her heart to ours.
Of course, she’s not the only pen on the album. Each song is a co-write, including such luminaries as Jack Antonoff, Troy Miller, Triangle Park, Spike Stent, Prince Charlez, Amy Wadge, Neff-U, Freddie Wexler, Jimmy Napes, Tayla Parx, Fred White, and Nathanial Ledgewick. But Diana Ross is visible in each song, and it’s very pleasing.
Diana Ross’s voice is as recognisable as ever; she commands authority – not in a Shirley Bassey fashion, but nonetheless still commanding, as she speaks out lyrics such as “Say it like you mean it”, from first track, ‘Thank You’.
Second song, ‘If The World Just Danced’ is an upbeat, electronic dance track; we are encouraged to find a place in an empty space. Miss Ross is like a fine wine, she’s only improved with age. “We’d be better if the world just danced”. It sounds like the antidote to all the ills of the world – Covid-19. poverty, imbalances between rich and poor…we’d be so much better if the world just danced.
‘All Is Well’ is another thankful song; like a prayer of thanks to the world around her; an attitude of gratitude. All is well. It’s alright. ‘In Your Heart’ is a different tempo; more RnB style. No less a song of gratitude, it is filled with positivity and affirmation. “In your heart there is a voice, let it rise”.
‘Just In Case’ with its huge piano and strings instrumentals feels like a song written especially for a musical. It is interesting to consider how it it could be performed by someone like Bette Midler, or even Mariah Carey. Its power is slightly lost on Miss Ross, but nonetheless it’s still a commanding song.
‘The Answer’s Always Love’ reminds me of Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’. “No matter what the question, the answer’s always love” – it’s more positive than ‘Earth Song’ though, it sees hope, if only we love.
‘Let’s Do It’ is a powerful RnB song, a slight departure from the songs of gratitude, but still about love as she sings, “let’s make life better together”.
Disco rules supreme (pun intended) with ‘I Still Believe’, an upbeat, fun track. It opens with slow piano but soon picks up the pace, and the horns are simply magnificent.
‘Beautiful Love’, track 11, is a song to a child. Lyrics such as, “I would do anything to keep the bogeyman away”, and “it’s you I celebrate, because I love you so, and I hope that my words resonate” are prosaic, and feel more like a free flowing, heartfelt, written on the fly song. We feel the love that she has for this child, and we can relate to it.
‘Thank You’ does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s one of those albums that’s going to grab hold of you – it’s hard to review because you get involved, invested in, the music. Diana Ross’s vocals gain purchase as the album goes on, and by the time we reach final song, ‘Come Together’, we’re believing that Miss Ross has written all the songs specifically for us.
Recorded at her home studio, ‘Thank You’ is “a powerful, inclusive musical message of love and togetherness.” Speaking about the album, Miss Ross said,
“I spent the past year recording new music and this music is a reflection of the joy and the love and the gratitude that I feel every day. It’s an album of great appreciation for life, and for all of you.
I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to record this glorious music at this time.”
‘Thank You’, by Diana Ross, is out now.