Beth Hart, “Mechanical Heart” from Better Than Home (2015): One Track Mind

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Presented from the beginning as a kind of next-gen Janis Joplin, Beth Hart — both as a solo artist and through a series of fiery collaborations with Joe Bonamassa — has claimed a well-earned reputation as a whiskey barrel-busting belter.

This isn’t that. Instead, “Mechanical Heart” finds Beth Hart plumbing the deepest of emotional depths, and finding a still strength around the lowest, trembling parts of her impressive vocal range. As the song unfolds, she seems to viscerally let go — at one point repeating “I’ll bring heaven to you,” almost like a mantra, only it sounds sadder every time.

In truth, we’ve heard something like this from Hart before. She’s long been more than the sum of her reputation — as much Aretha Franklin as she ever was Janis Joplin, with some Billie Holiday thrown in to create a darker roux. But there’s something more focused about “Mechanical Heart,” something more confessional. There’s a startling nakedness to her honesty.

“Mechanical Heart” advances Better Than Home, even as it more fully explores another side of Beth Hart. That said, we’ve got a feeling that, sooner or later, she lets all of that pent-up passion go — and the comparisons with Pearl will inevitably follow. For now, luxuriate in this quieter, more personal moment from Beth Hart. It gains in searing intensity everything it gives away in molten pyrotechnics.

Better Than Home is due April 13, 2015 via Provogue Records. Beth Hart has already hit the road in support of her new 10-song project, with dates continuing in America and then Australia into the spring. She’ll hit Europe and the UK before returning to the U.S. this summer.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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