Lovers and Friends, the long-awaited album by from the queen of love songs Irene Diaz, dedicated to friends and lovers and those who are both, is a delicious buffet of tempos, emotions, and styles, all with Diaz’s unique voice and arrangements. Ten songs, some released earlier, each one a stand-alone wonder and all together touch every aspect of love, friendship, life — sometimes in the lyrics, sometimes in the inflections of her charmed voice.
This is an album to listen to with earphones because it is rich with details, lush with emotion, powerful with urgency. But more than that, it brings to life your past, your future, your memories – real and imagined – of loves, relationships that are, were, will be and could have been. Lovers and Friends is truly enchanted from the lilt of the opening title song to the mystery and power of “Push” to the trap /rap-influenced statement of “Hate (is such a strong word)” with Figgy Baby, to the closing notes of “What’s Going On” that carry you away.
I have known and followed Irene Diaz for 10-years, drawn by her curling, precise voice and unabashed emotionality. From the moment I watched her perform “Crazy Love” (2.3 million streams and counting!) in an improvised venue in Venice California a decade ago, I knew she was both a musical angel and sorceress – a woman who wrote, arranged and performed music that summons the pain and the ecstasy of love from a place and at a level that I have yet to hear others achieve.
Lovers and Friends does exactly that with 10 very different songs that settle in your ears and keep playing in your mind. Truly a new milestone in her decade-long career, and a great beginning for the next decade.
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