Bonnie Raitt’s latest album, Slipstream, is her first in seven years. That is considered a long time in the music community. However, it’s important to remember that Bonnie Raitt is one of those artists that can basically do whatever she wants because she has earned the right. This album serves as a reassurance that she never went anywhere and that she is just as relevant as ever.
The opening song, “Used To Rule the World”, is a funky tune that lets listeners know right off the bat that they are in for a treat. What really makes the song is the sparse organ interjections on the off-beats. Bonnie also borrowed a little bit from Stevie Wonder with the subtle use of the clavinet organ.
The next track, “Right Down the Line” has lovely organs and a syncopated drum beat, which give it a bit of a reggae feel. It’s an example of how Bonnie can sound good playing any genre. Few songs are as raw and gritty a representation of what the blues are than “Ain’t Gonna Let You Go”. It’s not a sad song by any means, but it embodies the feel of the blues with its chunky guitar and organ.
The last song on the album is entitled “God Only Knows”. At first on might think it is a cover of the famous Beach Boys song. Upon listening to it, it’s obvious that it is an original composition, however, and it’s almost as emotionally striking as the beloved old song of the same name. Bonnie Raitt has become widely known over the years for her amazing guitar talents and sometimes, although not too often, her vocal capabilities can take a backseat. This song features nothing but her voice over a sentimental piano part. It was the perfect way to end the album.
With regard to song craft and overall sound, Slipstream may not be much of a departure from Bonnie’s sounds of yesteryear. When one considers, however, that she never claimed it would be, then you can relax and just experience this album for what it is, a classic Bonnie Raitt album that you should throw on the next time you take a road trip. It was released just in time to be the quintessential summer album. Hopefully Bonnie has many years left in her but even if she didn’t, Slipstream would be a great way to go out.
MP3 Stream: “Ain’t Gonna Let You Go“