Every Day Is A New Day (1999)

“I stand alone in the eye of the storm…”

Diana Ross rounded out her fourth decade in the music business with one of the busiest years she’d had in a long time; not only did she release her first studio album since 1995’s stellar Take Me Higher, but she also made a return to acting with the made-f0r-television film Double Platinum, which aired in May on ABC and co-starred young singer/actress Brandy.  The movie — based around the music business — provided a unique opportunity for Miss Ross to promote her new album, and several of the songs from Every Day Is A New Day were also featured in the film.  She promoted both projects with several notable television appearances, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (on which she performed both “He Lives In You” and “Love Is All That Matters”) and “The View,” and in the UK, with a taped special entitled “An Audience With Diana Ross.”

Like Take Me Higher, this album is a mix of adult soul/R&B tunes, inspirational ballads, and dance music.  Production duties are as varied as they were on her previous two studio albums; the legendary Arif Mardin (who’d worked with Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Bette Midler) handles four of the 12 tracks here, and young singer-songwriter Malik Pendleton (known for work with Mary J. Blige, SWV, and Zhane) takes on another four of them.  The song “Until We Meet Again” makes three appearances here; it’s first heard in ballad form, and then shows up again at the end of the CD in two remixes for the dancefloor (although only one remix is listed).  One of these versions ended up at #2 on Billboard’s Dance Music/Club Play chart, once again giving Miss Ross a high-energy dance hit.  In the UK, standout track “Not Over You Yet” was remixed and included; it was released as a single and became a top 10 hit there.

Miss Ross and the producers here had a lot to live up to with 1995’s Take Me Higher having been such a strong, cohesive album (although not a commercial success in the states), and this album doesn’t match the consistent quality of its predecessor.  That said, Every Day Is A New Day is another sterling effort by Miss Ross, easily eclipsing 1989’s Workin’ Overtime and also edging past 1991’s The Force Behind The Power in terms of successfully keeping Diana Ross in line with modern trends while also respecting her legacy and place in the music business.  Her voice is in good shape here; her performances on songs like “He Lives In You” and “Not Over You Yet” are among her best of the decade.  That said, many have also noted a muted “sadness” to the album, often attributed to events going on in Miss Ross’s personal life at the time; she is quoted in J. Randy Taraborrelli’s Diana Ross: A Biography as saying, “I was almost in an emotional breakdown in my life when I did that album” (422).  Whatever the case, there does seem to be a pensive, somber quality to much of the project and to some of her vocal performances, and while this makes the listening experience a little less energetic and joyful, it remains extremely compelling.

***

1.  He Lives In You:  Every Day Is A New Day wisely opens with one of its strongest inclusions; this is an epic song and performance that is one of the best Diana Ross album tracks in a long, long time.  Featured in the 1998 Disney movie The Lion King II (and later included in the Broadway musical based on the original animated film), “He Lives In You” is an African-themed inspirational ballad boasting both English and Zulu lyrics, including the famous opening “Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala.”  The version here is a vocal masterwork in every way; the choir of voices behind Miss Ross brings a sense of wonder and worldliness to the song with its strong, clear delivery of the African lyrics.  Diana offers up a moving and distinguished performance, one of her most impressive on the album; her interpretation of the lyrics — delicate, yet powerful — is about as perfect as possible.  Listen to her deliver the first chorus; she sings the lyrics “He lives in you…he lives in me…” with such a simplicity that it’s easy to overlook the way she manages to inject them with the authoritative wisdom needed to sell the almost-preachy message.  Her cries of “Wait!  There’s no mountain too great!” display her considerable skill at belting without needing to superfluously run up and down scales, and she easily plays the role of “choir leader” during the final minute or so, her own voice sliding in and out of the wash of melodic background voices.  Much of the song’s credit also goes to the smart production by Mardin, featuring an absolutely killer violin solo by Karen Briggs that must be ranked among the best instrumental performances featured on a Diana Ross song ever.  Given the immense popularity of the film and Broadway production of The Lion King, it’s a shame Diana’s version of this song isn’t better-known.  It was featured in the movie Double Platinum, and she performed a breathtaking version of it for Oprah Winfrey during her 1999 appearance to promote the film, perhaps Diana’s single best television performance of the 90s; the applause following her performance was rapturous, proving what a crowd-pleaser the song is.  Had it been released as a single, I’m not sure what market it would have been aimed at; still, the song is so good that it deserved a shot at a wider audience.

2.  Love Is All That Matters:  This is the Diane Warren-penned theme song to Diana’s television movie Double Platinum; it is the song that she performs with singer Brandy (playing her daughter) at the end of the movie, and the two singers promoted the song by performing it on Oprah (another stunning performance).  The two women actually recorded a version of the song together, and it was planned as a single; unfortunately, a deal between labels was apparently never reached, and thus the song can only be heard in the movie (a shame; an early mention in Billboard Magazine predicted the duet would be a chart-topper).  The version featured here is a Diana Ross solo performance; her voice is doubled, however, and she basically performs it as a duet with herself (as she did on 1982’s “In Your Arms”) — I’d venture the guess Brandy’s vocals were lifted out and Diana’s own “second” vocals plugged in.  The song itself is classic Diane Warren, who was enjoying tremendous success in 1990s thanks to penning massive hits including Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” and “How Do I Live” recorded by LeAnne Rimes.  The lyrics and melody here are simple and memorable; the sing-songy verses and pretty chorus are certainly radio-friendly, and there’s a nice, powerful bridge typical of late-90s pop ballads.  Miss Ross offers up a nice, if at times un-energetic performance; her delivery is crystal-clear, and her work on both the bridge and the final chorus of the song display a nice, raw power — her “Love is all that matters!” at 3:43 certainly shows off her ability to soar when she wants to.  However, the verses are a bit slow-going; again, Diana’s voice is lovely, but she sounds a little sleepy on a few lines, and isn’t helped by the vaguely generic sound of the track.  Typical of ballads from this era, the background is a wash of programmed instruments, rather than live playing; more distinction between actual instruments probably would’ve helped the song pop a little more.  In any case, “Love Is All That Matters” is a memorable ballad, but it’s too bad listeners never got to hear it as a true duet, as intended.

3.  Until We Meet Again:  The album’s third song is an acoustic guitar-driven ballad also heavily featured in Double Platinum; this is the first of the really somber songs on the CD, and one of the most melancholy Ross performances since “Forever Young” from 1984’s Swept Away.  Though the lilting guitar adds an exotic musical element to the song, the overwhelming feeling here is one of great sadness; Miss Ross’s voice sounds different here than it has on the previous two songs, almost “worn-out” in comparison to the uplifting “He Lives In You.”  This is not to say that Diana sounds bad or weak here; she doesn’t.  She does, however, sound like she’s emotionally drained; listen, for example to her utter “hey” at the end of the first verse (at :39 in), as though she’s given everything she’s got and is pushing through the song on sheer will.  Interpreting music with such honesty is, of course, what makes Diana Ross such a truly great vocalist; few singers put the message and lyric of the song before themselves, and Diana Ross always has.  However, in this case, the song can be a challenging repeat listen; it is so heavy that it almost becomes oppressive after awhile.  Again, this is not a criticism of the singer or the song; “Until We Meet Again” is still an important inclusion on the album.

4.  Got To Be Free:  This song kicks off a quartet of contemporary soul tracks produced by ‘Zavy Kid’ Malik Pendleton; placing the four songs together at the center of the album (along with the similar “Sugarfree” produced by Chuckii Booker) turns this into an extended cool, slow-groove interlude, and the bouncy “Got To Be Free” is a nice way to start it all off and break the dense, dark atmosphere set by “Until We Meet Again” without being too jarring.  The lyrics here inject a little power back into Miss Ross; while she crooned “…you’re always in my heart…” on the previous song, here she slickly declares, “You don’t know why, haven’t got a clue, in the dark about why I am leaving you.”  Her performance here is laid-back and husky; there’s a deeper shading to her voice than was ever apparent on 1995’s Take Me Higher, and consequently she sounds even older and wiser than she did on that album.  It seems like it took a long time for Diana Ross to really become comfortable using her lower register in the recording studio; she almost never did on her albums for RCA, nor on her early 90s works.  Here, however, she is in full command of the lowest notes in her range, and she sounds fantastic; listen to her dive for the word “around” at 1:08.  Producer Pendleton does a nice job creating a modern, hip track that still sounds appropriate for an artist of Ross’s stature and maturity; there’s a nice bass that’s playful but never overpowering, and the youthful background voices perfectly balance Miss Ross’s seasoned, smoky delivery.  Though “Got To Be Free” isn’t the most memorable song here (it lacks a really strong hook), it’s a refreshing addition.

5.  Not Over You Yet:  This is one of the unqualified highlights of the album, not to mention Diana Ross’s solo output post-RCA.  Brilliantly building off of “Got To Be Free,” writer/producer Malik Pendleton creates a hypnotic groove upon which Diana offers up one of her sexiest and more accomplished vocal performances.  The track here has an industrial, metallic feel, as though the listener is hearing sounds lifted straight out of a factory; that muscular feel is an amazing counterpoint to Miss Ross’s smooth performance, in which she again demonstrates a mastery of her lower range.  The control in her vocals here is really astounding; she skillfully glides along the melody, never letting the deepness of the notes or her hushed tones obscure the lyrics.  The mesmeric, repetitive chorus is extremely well-constructed; it’s a strong, memorable hook that would have played very well on R&B radio, and Diana’s voice blends beautifully with the backing of Stephanie Cook and Mr. Pendleton himself.  Diana’s work at 2:15, as the croons, “I love you so, I can’t let go, I’m crazy for you…” is genius; this is soul singing on par with anything released by any female singer in the late-90s, and is definitive proof for any of Miss Ross’s critics who say she’s not a “real” soul singer that indeed, she is and always has been.  It is mind-boggling that Motown didn’t send this song immediately to R&B stations; it deserved a shot, and probably could have gotten strong play had it been give the right push.  Once again, Diana’s overseas team showed much stronger judgement, choosing this song as a single and remixing it for clubs and radio; it was a top 10 hit in the UK, and should have enjoyed the same success for Diana at home.

6.  So They Say:  Another chunk of adult soul similar in sound to “Got To Be Free” and “Not Over You Yet,” this features an even “deeper” groove, and is a looser, more relaxed song in structure.  This allows Miss Ross to give an appealingly sexy and confident vocal performance, with some nice, airy flourishes and a playfully light touch on the verses.  The verses are relatively wordy (i.e. “Can’t say I regret that things that I got and didn’t get…”), but Miss Ross delivers them like a pro, vocally skipping along without ever tossing away words or jumbling them the way someone oversinging might have.  This, of course, is one of the great skills of Diana Ross as a vocalist; her attention to the lyrics and the details in the words has always allowed her to sell a song.  Her work here is similar in many ways to her performance on the #4 R&B hit “No Matter What You Do” — her duet with Al B. Sure! from the early 90s.  Both songs have a leisurely, languid feel, allowing Miss Ross freedom to really dig into the material.  While “No Matter What You Do” did well on R&B radio, “So They Say” is probably a little too loose to have been released as a single; there’s not much of a hook here and it’s not an immediately memorable composition in the way that “Not Over You Yet” or “He Lives In You” are.  That said, it’s still a really nice performance and production, and a welcome addition here; Miss Ross was really hitting her stride with these smooth, soulful songs, and her command of the material is a joy.

7.  Every Day Is A New Day:  The album’s title track rounds out the quartet of Malik Pendlton productions, and is another album highlight; this is a rich, dynamic piece of neo-soul/jazz on par with the current and similarly-toned work being turned out by Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and Angie Stone.  This is another song that takes its time; the musical intro here is almost a minute long, before a progression of popping bass strings finally leads to the intricate tapestry of voices singing the song’s memorable chorus.  Once again, Diana Ross is in relaxed voice, displaying some of the most confident vocals of her career; the song’s key perfectly suits both the deeper end of her range and her upper, breathy range, and it allows her to display both impressively.  The lyrics here are a full 180 away from the morose “Until We Meet Again” — here, Diana sassily tells a former lover, “…now that you’re gone, I’m doin’ just fine without you…how I bless the day you went away.”  As with the previous tune, co-writer Pendleton turns in some quickly-paced lines that force Diana to cram a lot of lyrics into a few bars of music, and once again she employs her lightness of touch to the material to keep it from sounding too dense.  The shuffling beat here is nice, as is the popping bass, but most impressive is the vocal arrangement on the choruses, which combines Diana’s voice and that of the background singers into complex, jazzy chords.  Together, the voices end up sounding almost like a grouping of brass instruments; the effect is interesting to listen to and adds a lot of depth to the song and the overall album.  This is a striking addition to the Diana Ross discography, a song which takes advantage of her proficiency in both soul and jazz music; it’s enough of a standout that it certainly justifies being the title track of the CD.

8.  Sugarfree:  The contemporary soul continues with this track, written and produced by Chuckii Booker, who among other things has served as musical director for artists ranging from Janet Jackson to TLC to Faith Evans.  This song certainly sounds like it could have been recorded by any of those artists, but it also manages to be a perfect fit for Miss Ross, who offers up another impressive performance.  Though it was never released as a single, it interestingly gained some R&B airplay and stopped just outside the top 100 on that chart; had it gotten any promotion from Motown or Miss Ross, it probably could have charted much higher.  While there are stronger compositions on the CD, this is a nice song with a catchy chorus and sly lyrics; it’s hard not to sing along with “…without my love, you’ll always be Sugarfree.”  Miss Ross is full of feeling here; she even demonstrates a little melisma — something she’s not generally known for — such as at 2:28, at which she glides over several notes during the word “turned.”  She also shows off a little more vocal strength than she had on the previous few songs, sounding clear and strong on her vocal run at 3:00.  It’s too bad that once stations began picking up the song, the label didn’t jump on it; it likely wouldn’t have gotten any pop play, but it would have been a nice fit on R&B radio in 1999, a year when female artists were dominating (Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, TLC, Destiny’s Child, Faith Evans, and Mariah Carey all enjoyed #1 R&B hits that year).

9.  Someone That You Loved Before:  After five mid-tempo soul stunners in a row, Diana Ross returns to the pop ballad here, recording another Diane Warren composition (which, like “Love Is All That Matters,” was also heavily featured in the TV movie Double Platinum).  Of the three sweeping love ballads here (the other two being “Love Is All That Matters” and “Until We Meet Again”), this is the strongest in terms composition; it’s a deceptively simple melody and lyric which are instantly memorable and relatable.  Had Diana Ross recorded this song in the mid-1970s, it probably would have been a #1 hit.  Her vocal performance here is strong and effective, showier than on “Until We Meet Again” but similarly heavy; there are moments when Diana seems really, overwhelmingly sad.  As with most Diane Warren ballads, there’s a big finish here, beginning around 2:22 as Diana howls, “Baby, I…”  Her work for the duration of the song is beautifully rendered, with Diana finally getting to really push herself to the top limits of her range, something she hasn’t done much of until now.  If there’s a fault here, it’s with the production; the sound of the track is a little generic and over-produced.  It’s not bad, but there’s nothing really distinct about it and no single instrument really takes the lead, which results in a wash of programming behind Diana that really doesn’t match her emotion.  Had the track been a little stronger, the song really could have been a standout ballad for Miss Ross; as it is, it’s a strong album track and a memorable vocal performance.

10.  Hope Is An Open Window:  A gospel-ish, soulful ballad that serves as this album’s “Only Love Can Conquer All” (from 1995’s Take Me Higher), this is a rare composition bearing the name Diana Ross as co-writer.  Miss Ross apparently had the idea to incorporate Sonia Sanchez’s “An Anthem” into the song, which serves as a nice, modern intro; hearing another voice layered into the mix in such a unique way is a surprise and certainly different for a Diana Ross song.  The uplifting song is built upon a slowly shuffling, almost locomotive instrumental line; it evokes images of a passing train, which fits perfectly with lyrics like, “I walk these city streets…see the people there…look into the eyes of quiet dispar.”  Backing Diana along with the session singers (including, by the way, Alicia Moore, later known as pop artist Pink!), is the New Creation Choir, and the full, powerful voices are absolutely stunning.  Miss Ross herself turns in a nicely pitched performance; her clear, concise delivery easily transmits the message of compassion and companionship, and she does some nice, quiet wordless vocalizing during the bridge.  Just a few short years after the release of Every Day Is A New Day, the United States was dealing with the most devastating terrorist attack in its history, and this song — for me — took on a whole new meaning; the lyrics here seem to completely capture both the strange isolation and then sudden rush of togetherness that followed the September 11th attacks of 2001.  A song like this — honest, simple, and completely unpretentious — has the ability to becoming an emotional release and even a healing power for listeners, and on that level, “Hope Is An Open Window” is a major success and important addition to Diana Ross’s discography.

11.  Carry On:  Of all the great songs on 1995’s Take Me Higher, Diana Ross’s remake of “I Will Survive” had the biggest impact, becoming an anthem for the singer herself and becoming her concert-closer.  Thus, it’s no surprise she chose to remake another dance song for this album, and went a little “deeper” this time to find Martha Wash’s early 90s club hit “Carry On.”  Ross’s version figured into Double Platinum during the “Grammy party” scene, though the version on this CD is a remix of what’s heard in the film.  In any case, this is a perfect dance song for Diana Ross; she sounds strong and energetic, displaying probably her best vocals on the entire project aside from possibly her work on “He Lives In You.”  This song was club-ready, and thus it is a total mystery as to why her team chose to release to remixed “Until We Meet Again” to clubs instead of this one.  I have no doubt that had “Carry On” been sent to clubs and radio, it would have garnered plenty of spins, and probably would have hit #1 on Billboard’s Dance Music/Club Play chart.  Listen to her near-screech on “I stand alone…” at 1:01, and then to her “I won’t stop, I will not…BE DENIED!” at 2:27 — this is Diana Ross at her best, belting her heart out in a way that she rarely does, but excels at when she chooses to.  This song even stood a chance at pop radio; in the aftermath of Cher’s worldwide #1 smash “Believe,” radio certainly would have been less reluctant to play a new song by a more seasoned singer, and this is a catchy, engaging recording that deserved to find success.  After displaying smooth, confident, and controlled vocals on many of this CD’s songs, it’s nice to hear Diana really let loose and prove that her vocal stamina really hadn’t diminished much over the years; this is Diana the Dance Diva at her most impressive.

12.  Until We Meet Again (Hex Hector Remix):  Though it’s only listed as one track, there are actually two dance mixes of “Until We Meet Again” here; the first runs roughly 3:50, and is then followed by :30 seconds of silence, before the second begins at 4:20 (thus the total track’s listed running time of 8:05).   The strategy to re-imagine this song was a success, in the regard that “Until We Meet Again” his #2 on the dance charts, although it didn’t get play on any other format.  The song structure and vocals (lead and background) are retained from the earlier ballad version, so both dance versions here are different only in terms of the backing tracks and tempo; both are pretty good dance remixes, with the first a little darker in tone, and the second featuring a repetitive four-note motif similar to that on Cher’s massive dance hit “Believe.”  Both are successful in terms of keeping the integrity of the original recording in tact while also progressing it forward for a new audience; they are as listenable as the original and don’t diminish Diana’s vocal performance at all.   That said, as noted before, Every Day Is A New Day already had a dance stunner in “Carry On,” so it’s really unclear why Miss Ross and her team decided to remix this ballad and push it; I still believe “Carry On” had the potential to be a far bigger dance success (and a success on other formats) than this.

Not Over You Yet (Metro Radio Edit):  The album’s biggest hit anywhere was this song, a top 10 in the UK propelled by an energetic video featuring Miss Ross in a sexy black leather catsuit.  The original version of “Not Over You Yet” is one of this CD’s best songs, and this is brilliantly-conceived makeover; it works as a remix far better than either of the versions of “Until We Meet Again” — again, begging the question why Motown decided to remix that song and focus on it.  The simmering original version of “Not Over You Yet” had the potential to be an R&B hit for Miss Ross, had it been given a proper push, and releasing this remix in the states could have further helped the song’s chance at success.  With a one-two punch of “Not Over You Yet” and “Carry On” in dance clubs and the original “Not Over…” sent to R&B radio and BET, the fate of Every Day Is A New Day could have been very different in Diana’s home country.

Drop The Mask:  An interesting, funky number released on the Japanese edition of this CD; many fans have speculated that this song was directed at Michael Jackson, as it was co-written by Miss Ross and contains pointed lyrics such as:  “I knew you then, I love you now…you can call me up when it gets you down.  Behind the shades there’s someone real…behind your eyes, I wonder how you feel…”  I have no idea if this is really meant as a message for her old friend, but it’s certainly an unusual, sparse song; there’s some nice, Prince-like guitar work and eerily-arranged background vocals, and Miss Ross’s performance is slick and sly, making good use of her deeper tones.  Though this is a memorable song, it’s not strong enough that it seems sorely missing from other editions of Every Day Is A New Day; if Diana Ross had to leave a few songs off for other markets, this wasn’t a bad choice to pass over.

Free (I’m Gone):  Another rare side featured on the Japanese edition of Every Day…, this is a better recording than “Drop The Mask” and probably should have figured onto the US and UK-editions of the albums somehow; it’s far more unique and compelling than some of the other tunes that ended up being included on all versions of the project.  The track is beautifully done, with a funky, neo-soul vibe that mixes vintage elements with a modern percussive beat very similar to the one featured on the TLC-smash “Waterfalls”; Diana’s performance is breathy and relaxed and she again impressively handles the quickly-paced, syncopated verses.  The chorus here (“I’m Free…like the wind…independent…once again…”) isn’t the most “hooky” on the album, which is probably why it was left off; still I’d say this song is every bit as strong as “Got To Be Free” and “So They Say” and even “Until We Meet Again” and the track is good enough that it might have even gotten a little R&B airplay had it been given a chance in the states.

***

In his book Diana Ross: A Biography, J. Randy Taraborrelli writes of this album, “No one seemed to be interested in doing a thing to promote this record — even Diana lost interest in it” (521).  This seems accurate; the only real “promotion” for Every Day Is A New Day came through some of the songs being featured in Double Platinum; Diana’s talk show appearances and magazine interviews during this time really focused only on the movie.  The album would continue to be overshadowed in the next few years to come, with publicity surrounding Diana’s airport security incident at Heathrow in England, her divorce, and then her Supremes-themed tour, Return To Love.  Consequently, the songs from this CD have really been lost over the years, with the All Music Guide writing it off by saying, “Although the album sounds good, nothing on it truly catches hold the way even such latter-day hits as ‘Missing You,’ ‘Swept Away’ and ‘Muscles’ did.”

Thankfully, this really isn’t true; there are plenty of songs here that catch hold, with some of them standing out as real career highlights.  Overall, this album doesn’t match the consistent high quality of Take Me Higher; every single song on that album was perfectly produced and sequenced.  Here, the biggest issue is that there seems to be two albums crammed into one; Diana’s sophisticated soul quintet (tracks 4-8) could have been expanded into one album, while the remaining productions seem to be pitched for another one.  The somber, muted quality is also an added layer that makes listening a bit of a challenge at times; those expecting joy from the singer of “The Boss” and “I’m Coming Out” will be surprised by her obvious anguish on “Until We Meet Again” and “Someone That You Loved Before.”  Still, Every Day Is A New Day is a successful work and a project that holds up well, and is easily one of the better complete albums of her solo years.

Final Analysis:  4.5/5 (Diana Manages To “Carry On”)

Choice Cuts:  “He Lives In You,” “Not Over You Yet,” “Carry On”

Advertisements

About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
This entry was posted in Studio Album and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Every Day Is A New Day (1999)

  1. Lawrence says:

    It’s funny how similar our taste seems to be on these albums! I agree that this is a more somber work, but I’m sorry it was quickly forgotten. I think that the mood and the quality of the singing are quite strong.

    When 911 happened, I actually called all the radio stations in Los Angeles and asked them to listen to Diana’s “Hope is an open Window”, and play it. I too felt, as you did, that it could be such a healing anthem. Needless to say, the DJs never gave it a spin (and there was no label push for it either).

    I also vividly remember the appearance on Oprah, with Brandy. I was so mad for a while after the duet of “Love is all that Matters” was scrapped, as this would clearly have been a smash it. I read that it was Brandy’s mother who vetoed this single, since Brandy’s album was already out and she didn’t want her to miss the chance to release a single that wasn’t on her own album. Since iTunes wasn’t yet a force, that was the end of the duet. Very sad.

    I love “Until We Meet Again” – in both ballad and dance form. I think “Someone that you loved Before” was a perfect love ballad too. Plus, as you wrote, I was stunned “Carry On” wasn’t given any promotion as the single. I often wish Diana would sing this as the encore instead of the tired “I Will Survive.” In addition, the remix of “Not over you Yet” was ripe for airplay in all formats. But once again, there was no label promotion being done.

    All in all, this is still a fine album. I often play it to this day, and I wish “Take me Higher” and “Every day is a new Day” had both charted at the top. They were quality projects from start to finish.

    • Tony says:

      Someone that you Loved Before…. in my view is “Classic Ross” Love it. it actually makes me well up when I hear it.

    • Paul says:

      I know — we’re in pretty close agreement most of the time — great minds think alike 🙂

      Yes, “Hope Is An Open Window” just felt so appropriate after 9/11 — I hope it’s a song that will someday be re-discovered.

      What do you think Motown was thinking by not releasing “Carry On” or the NOYY remix in the states? I guess they weren’t thinking at all — execs, sadly, probably just didn’t care how the album performed. What a huge, missed opportunity, though. I’m surprised Diana doesn’t use “Carry On” — although, perhaps this entire album just brings up painful memories for her, since it came at a tough time in her life. Maybe she just wanted to get it out there, and then move on.

      • Lawrence says:

        🙂

        I think Motown was pretty much over at this point. A shame really. Imagine if this album had come out on Interscope or on Arista with Clive Davis pushing it? It could have been huge (ditto with Take me Higher).

      • Julius Maloney says:

        When you look at the Motown website there is a real distinction between ‘current’ Motown & ‘classic’ Motown. I think this is where the challenge lies, somehow with someone like Diana Ross there seems a confusion as to where she sat. Is she old Motown or new? You only need look at the lack of cohesive promotion on TMH & Every Day to see that there was little focus on either project.

        There has never been someone after Berry Gordy left who had the talent to pick cuts & hits that would sell a record to the public. Listen to any alternate cut whether it be The Supremes or Ross (Motown Gen 1) and it is clear why the singles we know & love were chosen. He just had that kind of ear.

        I think also there was a huge culture shift in the music industry at the time. We had just come out of a very big AC & MOR focus on grown up artists. Celine, Mariah, Whitney, Madonna each having mammoth hit albums through the mid to late 90s.

        With the launch of boy bands (NSync/Backstreet Boys), Britney, Christina & with that whole Swedish pop sound there was a real clearing of the decks. Everything was youth focused. We still rarely hear from grown artists on the singles charts (thankfully these artists still rate on the LP charts, often).

        Somewhere in all this came Everyday with a youth focused record label (with their own boy band Boys to Men). Where did a grown lady record fit into this new landscape. With Miss Ross perhaps dealing with her own stuff this is where he challenge arose?

    • Julius Maloney says:

      This & Take Me Higher are two really special records. They feel like bookends to a really specific point of my life. I still play both. 🙂

      • Paul says:

        I agree — both albums are VERY tied to specific times in my life, and when I listen to them now they take me back to the emotions that I was feeling back then. That’s what Diana’s music seems to do for us all — it’s a soundtrack for our lives.

      • markus says:

        that’s a fantastic way of putting it, Julius. I totally agree.

  2. Antje says:

    I love this album as much as TMH, but of course listening to it requirs a certain mood you are in. And thus it works for me best when I feel a bit sad, and I am so much comforted by Diana’s superb interpretation of the songs. One of my favorite tunes is “Free – I’m gone”.
    Regarding “Love is all…” I prefer the solo version. When watching the live performance on Oprah, the moment Diana starts singing you feel why her voice is so unique, she totally wraps you in with its smoothness. Brandy, for me, is just another of these girls who endlessly sing around one note, sorry. I find it totally annoying. On the other hand possible chart success is a point, since it would have helped to attract attention to this great album.

    • Tony says:

      Hello Antje,

      I am with you on that Love is Alll… I prefer the solo version as well. I can not gt my hands on Free (I’m Gone). It was not on the Canadian version of the Album.

      I so agree with you bout how when Diana sings with Brandy …. Diana’s voice is just so enveloping and soothing…..

    • Paul says:

      I also really love “Free (I’m Gone)” — and can’t imagine why it was left off most editions of the album. I understand what you’re saying about Brandy, although I’ve always been a fan of hers. I think she has a lot of talent and ability — at times, she gets a little too carried away, but I think that’s the influence of singers like Whitney and Mariah, who are much showier than someone like Diana. Still, I really wish the duet was on the album — I personally prefer the song in that manner, as I think it adds some needed depth to the track.

    • Thanks Markus. I was trying to work out how to respond directly to you still navigating WordPress. 😉

  3. chris meklis says:

    One of THE most intriguing albums of Miss Ross’s career and an album that seemed a tinge darker than anything else she had ever done- even down to the cover and pics which say a lot about her state of mind at this time I think…
    This album seems a story of hope in life and love and then the sadness of a breakup of a love very deeply felt, then a healing period followed by strength and hope….unfortunately there was too much going on I think for her to concentrate properly on its proper promotion.
    one of THE biggest lost opportunity projects of her latter day career.

    • Tony says:

      Chris ,

      I have to agree… that this was the biggest lost opportunity of her later career. This album , needed a lot of pushing, because the sounds were new and the style different. As a result , it needed to be promoted as to educate the public, giving them a chance to embrace the intriguing, sensual sound.

    • Paul says:

      I agree — there is a real story to this album — something that makes it one of the best and most consistent solo albums of her career. The connective thread through the songs is very powerful.

  4. Julius Maloney says:

    This is one of my go to records for Miss Ross. I had never thought of it a ssombre but see your point.

    Such a lost opportunity without the Brandy (who was massive at the time, and am still a huge fan so love Double Platinum on any number of levels) & Diana duet as a single release. I remeber watching the Oprah, Diana & Brandy episode & initially being really excited but then wondering why Miss Ross seemed so disconnected through the interview only to find out later that she had found out that Arne Nass had lodged divorce papers a few hours before appearing. I was stunned that she appeared at all. (Please correct me if my memory is wrong but I distinctly remember reading this later).

    I can only imagine how promotion for the record got lost in the shuffle.

    There is a great remix (by Metro) of Not Over You Yet on the Life & Love compilation that is really great that still sounds modern today!

    • Paul says:

      I do really like the Metro remix of “Not Over You Yet” — and, again, can’t imagine why it wasn’t issues in the US. It would have been a bigger club hit than “UNtil We Meet Again,” in my opinion! I’m not sure on the exact timing on the Oprah appearance, but I do know it was shortly after that appearance that the news broke of the divorce — Oprah even commented on it during Diana’s next appearance, while promoting Return To Love with the Supremes.

      • Julius Maloney says:

        That Metro mix is still part of my gym playlist, Love it much.

        What’s been really inspiring about this blog is re-listening to Miss Ross’ back catalogue eith new ears.

        So I re-listened last night (and this morning) to an album that I thought I knew well and completely hear the gravitas & yes, sadness that permeates many of the tracks.

        Funnily enough I was just watching a A&E special on Bette Midler and just met Arif Mardin who spoke extensively of working on Midlers first couple of records. Really interesting (track it down if you can).

        Even knowing the back ground surrounding this record I always think of Miss Ross as such a strong character that sometimes it takes listening to record like this to really comprehend the vulnerability Lady Supreme carries with her. Thank you for highlighting this. I’m listening differently now. 😉

      • Paul says:

        That’s cool to hear — I’m glad going album-by-album and through all the tracks has highlighted new layers and emotions for you — that’s what I hoped for when starting this all so many months ago!

  5. Tony says:

    I do recall , when this album came out. First off i was instantly disappointed with the cover. That probably set me off on the wrong foot with this album. I played it once and actually dismissed it. I did not like “Until We meet again” at all. Perhaps it was too dark and i didn’t want to be in a dark place. (Little did I realize that in just a few years I would be turning to that song for comfort).

    After my initial dissing of this album, quite by error , I played it again and with the strike of lightning….. I loved the adult slow grooves — of every single song. Soooo strange that in just a a micro second a switch went off and i could not get enough of the sensual sound of the album. I really wanted more of this sound.

    Actually the only track that did not move me … was Until We Meet Again.

    I do here Diana’s sadness in this album , I do hear her really trying to call out to her fans… almost asking for our help… as if to communicate to us that she is speaking to us in her music. ( Perhaps that is what i heard and ultimately made me love this album).

    Than… a few years ago … I lost my beautiful -only sister at only 40 years old. She lost a battle with cancer. As I usually do in my time of need.. I searched for that voice, and that song that would help sooth my loss. Low and behold… I heard playing in my mind “Until We Meet Again”- and now I love the song for what it means to me and how it soothes the pain of losing a sibling.

    This is also one of my go to albums. I relax to it and yet at times I am energized by it. Fantastic all around for me!

    • Paul says:

      So sorry to hear about your sister — I can see how “Until We Meet Again” would become an important song in dealing with that loss.

    • markus says:

      I’m really sorry for your loss, Tony.
      Often it takes time for me to appreciate some of Diana’s songs. In other cases it has taken a life event for it to happen. Music can bring out and enhance joy and happiness. It can also function as a catharsis, giving us comfort and strength through difficult times. Diana’s music has certainly done all of that for me. And I’m glad she’s been there for you. 🙂

    • chris meklis says:

      Wow- my sincere sympathies- it never fails to astonish me just how many people are, have been or have fallen to Cancer in this day and age…I have lost so many dear friends to it, so I feel your pain- but for a loss of a sister- I can only imagine the anguish. xx
      Amazing how you say you dissed the album on first listen…that’s exactly how I felt. In fact I got downright irritated and felt she wasn’t pushing enough vocally and that the material was bland and boring…ha ha, THEN, as you described…I had a light-bulb moment on I’d say my third full length listen and I just got it! And still get it!

  6. Paul says:

    By the way, fellow Ross-ers — the new Joss Stone album (“The Soul Sessions Vol. 2”) features a nice, funky, toned-down cover of Diana’s 1976 single “One Love In My Lifetime.” Nice to see this lesser-known, minor Diana hit get some attention!

  7. markus says:

    Paul, you did this album proud- just yesterday on FB I quoted a line from Carry On…guess which line? “I stand alone in the eye of the storm”. PERFECT quote to put on the review. It does somewhat capture Diana’s life between 1999 and 2004.

    This is another album that played an important role in my life. I was recently married but we were having big problems even then. When I bought the album i was surprised because the theme of nearly every song was love lost, either from a mournful (Until We Meet Again) or resilient (title track) standpoint. Of course, shortly thereafter we learned that Arne Naess had filed for divorce. You can imagine where Diana was at while recording the album, not to mention making the movie.

    (I remember a People article reporting the divorce that had some particularly nasty comments from J Randy Tarraborelli, dismissively saying “oh, she’ll be fine. She’ll record another album and do another tour”, and then he quite cruelly compared her to Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, saying something like “she still thinks her public is waiting”. The tone was more harsh than he had been in his book. I’ve often thought he felt guilt and remorse for saying these things in the wake of the personal crises she encountered in the coming years- the reunion tour cancellation, the end of Diana’s contract, her DUI arrest and the remarriage and death of her ex husband, which is why his 2007 book on Diana was a much more sympathetic tone, almost as if he were trying to make amends for past sins. Too little too late, methinks. But I digress…)

    Back to the album- Honestly she recorded several sombre and downbeat songs earlier in her career. The early A&S collaborations yielded some dark moments, not to mention songs like “Sleepin'”, “We’re Always Saying Goodbye”, “To Love Again”, etc.

    But hearing something like Until We Meet Again coming from Diana’s 55 year old voice is somewhat unsettling, the resounding disappointment and sadness in her voice. In the 2nd verse, when she says “And it hurts me, ’cause there’s no way for me to reach you, we’re so far apart…when did we grow so far apart…” that just crushes me. I don’t think I’d ever heard her voice sound quite like that. It sells the song but like you said, it makes for a challenging listen. Even on the title track, which is a triumphant declaration of resilience, Diana at times almost sounds like she NEEDS to believe these lyrics she’s singing.

    He Lives in You- A fantastic track, I agree. I particularly love the violin solo, performed by the amazing Karen Briggs.

    Love is All That Matters- oh, it’s a pure schmaltz-fest served up by the master, Diane Warren. I know Diana loves these things so it’s understandable. I happen to like Brandy’s phrasing on the duet version as it added some variety. This solo take is just a little to sleepy and sappy for me.

    Got to Be Free- it’s such an airy respite from the heavy resignation of Until We Meet Again. I like the song, but ironically Diana’s vocal is anything but free- there’s not one ad-lib here. The song bounces along to the key change but it’s always felt like something’s missing.

    Not Over You Yet- It was so coooool when I first heard it, although Diana is again short on the ad-libs during the chorus. I was waiting for her to come out with a “love me, baby” during one of the refrains but it doesnt happen. Still, it’s got a good hook, Diana sounds great in her lower register, and i love the spoken “I miss your kisses, I miss your touch” part. The metro mix is phenomenal (“I want a little more BASS!!!” Work, Diana!), and Motown’s failure to jump on it in the states is just plain foolishness.

    So They Say- We should keep in mind something that occurred between TMH and this album. The emergence of the all-powerful B*E*Y*O*N*C*E*. Although she wasn’t yet the mega-star she would become, Destiny’s Child was already making a big impact, and the tricky, rapid-fire delivery of lyrics would become their hallmark. Just weeks after EDIAND was released DC released The Writings on the Wall, which included Bills Bills Bills and Say My Name, both of which typified this…and both became huge hits.
    On So They Say Diana nods her head to the trend and Malik Pendleton guides her through a vocal that, even for a slow song, is somewhat tricky to manuveur. I remember being impressed by that 2nd verse!

    Every Day is a New Day- an album highlight- I love Diana’s phrasing on it. Favorite part: “and now you’re leaving me alone, to go for my own, when you’re not at home, I’m glad you’re gone..” LOL! what a kick to the curb. 😉

    Sugarfree- Loved Loved Loved it. Chuckii Booker (not just a busy producer but a successful artist in his own right- he had a huge R&B hit with “Games”) served Diana up a gorgeous slice of retro-Quiet Storm soul. About a month after the album came out I drove to NYC with family for the day. I had the radio on KISS FM…and Sugarfree came on. I nearly jumped out of the driver’s seat. Sadly, that was the last time I heard a new Diana song on the radio. 😦

    Someone That You Loved Before- This is a better song than “Love is All That Matters” overall, but I pretty much feel the same way- this one was co-written by another master of sappy pathos, Eric Carmen (“All By Myself”). This does fit into the downbeat aspect of the album so it definitely warrants inclusion. I have to be in the mood for it.

    Hope is An Open Window- not one of my favorites when the album came out, but I’ve come to appreciate that while it’s one of her “message” songs, it’s also unique in her catalog iun terms of execution. The Sonia Sanchez spoken intro alone sets it apart.

    Carry On- I’ve always thought this is how her vocal from I Will Survive should’ve sounded. When I play this for people the reaction I get is usually along the lines of “holy shit”. 😉 This again fits into the tone of the album, but here it becomes survival at any cost. How better to signal endurance than with a great club anthem?

    Drop the Mask- I’ve always had a soft-spot for this, even if it’s not really a great song. It’s self-penned (if I’m not mistaken the last thing she’s released that gave her a songwriter credit) so that may be it. I love near the end when she says “be yourself…be yourself!”

    Free (I’m Gone)- i don’t have the production or songwriting credits for this but it should be noted that the song samples- of all things- Flava in Ya Ear, a 1994 rap smash by Craig Mack. A couple of years later Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule would have a huge hit with a remix of “Ain’t it Funny” that used the same sample. The lyrics are at times consciously contemporary (“I think I’ll go do the mall, make a couple of calls, gonna hang with the girls…”) but Diana sells them well, never sounding out of touch. The final verse, sung nearly a cappella, is a high point of the song, her phrasing and delivery are expert. And this is yet another case where she’s navigating through some rapid-paced lyrics. Overall a great song and on that should’ve been on the US release.

    I’ve seen it referred to by Diana fans online as “The Divorce Album”. It’s definitely not the sexy slice of mid-life that TMH was. Beyond being a well-crafted album, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the personal mindset of a woman who has always worked hard to put forth and maintain a positive, upbeat, confident image through her music. She’s always made a point of saying is her music is a reflection of herself. I don’t think that ever mattered more than with the release of Every Day is a New Day. And this was ultimately the soundtrack for the breakdown of my own marriage two years later.

  8. markus says:

    PS- Paul, it should be noted the 2nd remix of Until We Meet Again on the album- the hidden mix- is actually a completely different remix that was not done by Hex Hector. It was done by Love to Inifinity, who did some very popular, radio-friendly club mixes for a ton of successful artists back in the 90’s (everyone from Aretha to Cher). Their remix of “I Say a Little Prayer” by Diana King- from the film My Best Friends Wedding- was a US Top 40 pop hit in 1997.

    • Paul says:

      Yes, I am aware — however, the album only credits track 12 as “Hex Hector Remix” which is why I notated it that way, too. 🙂

      • markus says:

        I apologize, i wasn’t trying to play schoolteacher. I just figured since it was uncredited on the album it should be mentioned, that was all.

      • Paul says:

        Oh, I know — sorry if that came out snippy — didn’t mean it that way — I was just rushing through responding to comments 🙂 Feel free to play schoolteacher anytime — you have a huge knowledge of Diana and her discography!!! 🙂

  9. chris meklis says:

    More thoughts…
    I thought that she should have sung ‘Hope is and Open Window’ on the telethon for the Tsunami instead of ‘Reach Out’.
    As for the fast paced lyrics that Paul and Markus mention…besides sounding like Beyonce I remember really enjoying Mariah’s Butterfly album around this time (had not really heard or cared for Destiny or Beyonce yet),, and when I heard the second verse of ‘So They Say’ I thought “wow!- how current is this lady sounding”- nailing this style of annunciation- and it instantly reminded me of Mariah’s ‘Baby dol’l (” ‘stead of breaking me on down”) from ‘Butterfly’.

    Also I loved reading one reviewer saying that “Diana Ross takes on modern soulful styles of divas half her age here, and without even breaking a sweat!”….Cannot remember from which magazine this came- but I thought that’s exactly true! lol

    • Lawrence says:

      Excellent idea. Hope is an Open Window on the telethon would have been perfect, and they could have had the single available on iTunes that day. Unfortunately, this is just one of many missed opportunities with her albums in the 1990s/2000s. I think not having a real manager guiding her career has sometimes hurt, in terms of promotion and acting projects too. I remember when she did one of Oprah’s last shows, if only she had done the whole version of “It’s hard for me to Say”, and then released it on iTunes! If only…

      • chris meklis says:

        Lawrence I’m sorry she did not stand a chance with Motown….she could have had the best manager in the world and it wouldn’t have happened- they were not interested, but hey, HAD she had the best manager in the world- he would have said- Don’t go back to Motown! 😉

      • Paul says:

        Lawrence — while there’s no doubt NOTHING could have probably motivated Motown to do more for Diana, I agree an outside manager could have changed things for her. Diana is obviously very choosey about how she promotes her albums, and a manager might have convinced her to do more appearances in different venues, which could have helped some of these songs find more listeners.

    • markus says:

      @Chris- i forgot about Babydoll! Breakdown from that album is another great example. And considering Butterfly came out just a few months after EDIAND…dare I say Diana was slightly ahead of the curve on this??? 😉

      • chris meklis says:

        Lol Markus- she’s always been hey?

      • Paul says:

        Hey Chris & Markus — actually, “Butterfly” was released more than a year before EDIAND — September of ’97, in time for the Christmas shopping season of 1997. Interestingly, though, the albums were recorded during simliar times in each artists’s life. Mariah was in the process of divorcing Tommy Mottola at the time, and much of the confusion/sadness of that is reflected in her writings/recordings on “Butterfly.” In that way, they are both kind of “divorce” albums for the stars — and both feature an unusually hushed tone for the singers. Both also feature some stellar mid-tempo R&B tunes, as you guys pointed out!

      • markus says:

        Oops, Paul- it did come out 2 years earlier…lol no clue why i was thinking 1999… 🙂

    • Paul says:

      Chris — a month after Mariah released “Butterfly,” Janet Jackson put out “The Velvet Rope” — which also featured a deep soul, hushed groove — something that I also hear reflected in Diana’s album (and Janet’s “My Need” sampled “Love Hangover!”). I think some of Miss Ross’s contemporary urban performances here are far stronger than Janet’s on songs like “I Get Lonely,” which earned Janet a Grammy nod and went to #1 R&B.

      • markus says:

        oh, and it had Got Til It’s Gone, which I still love to this day. 😉

      • Julius Maloney says:

        The spooky thing is that I have been listening a lot to both Mariah & Diana. Now this is in no way to garner sympathy but because I played a lot of sport as a kid & young adults I kinda f*cked up my hip I have just had a hip replacement (yes in my mid-30s. No I am not a grandad lol) so I’m half way through a 6 week recovery program. (Anyway that’s by the by).

        But this is how I found The Diana Ross Project (how it took me until now I don’t know because I have been looking for exactly this kind of site because of the Hip-O re-releases, intelligent critique of this most important artist). It has been both ladies that have kept me positive while I lie or sit on my ass a whole lot (which is not he easiest thing believe me). So between Lady Supreme & Lady Butterfly (and this blog) I am doing quite well thank you very much!

        Butterfly is one of my very favorite albums, and interesting to think of both Mariah & Diana going through similar periods of their life and creating such career defining work.

        I think I’ll go put on Butterfly now (just listening to TMH). 🙂

      • Paul says:

        Yuck — good luck with the recovery — that must be rough. But at least you’ve got two great singers to listen to while laying around! I love both very much — Mariah has quite a varied discography but I think she’s one of the great songwriters of all time. Wish she’d write some songs for Diana!!

      • chris meklis says:

        Definitely stronger…do you have Free (I’m Gone) to post here? Have never heard that song…:-(

      • Paul says:

        Chris — send me an e-mail at dianarossproject@gmail.com and I’ll share the song with you — as Markus did with me, since I can’t find it among the 1000s of my CDs 🙂

  10. Julius Maloney says:

    I kinda picked up that there was a little ( a lot) of passion for Miss Mariah through a couple of threads I read here. Now a Mariah project (post of course ‘The Supremes Project’) would be genius!!!

    The recovery is going pretty well (it helps that the program really is for senior citizens) as I’m pretty healthy & everything else is in working order 😛 But cheers for asking.

    It really does help if you can do other stuff & seriously I’m such an audiophile that it’s given me a tonne of opportunity to catch up on music I’ve bought or downloaded & really listen so really loving the blog. It’s making the days go quicker. This & Real Housewives of New York (but shhh on that one!) 🙂

    • chris meklis says:

      Julius- get well soon….
      don’t you think that before a Supremes analysis Paul should do all new unreleased material from various compilations, the expanded edition albums etc? I’d like to here his opinions on those other tracks we have recently had the opportunity to discover

      • Julius Maloney says:

        Thank you for the good wishes Chris.

        Oh lord yes. Although I am new folks here I wouldn’t expect any less. All the alternates, all the previously unreleased material, a breakdown of each Hip-O-Select release & every remix (I am already waiting with bated breath for the Almighty: We Love Miss Ross. Remix Project review). Then The Supremes, then Mariah Carey…*

        I’m just planning ahead (I’m here for the long haul). 😀

        *Jokes, just enjoying being here.

    • Paul says:

      Don’t worry — I’m a RHONY junkie, too 🙂 And yes, Mariah is #2 on my list of favorite singers — nobody can top The Boss!

      • Julius Maloney says:

        So pleased my shame can be shared!

        Slightly off topic as I keep meaning to ask, what do you think of the new Mariah track ‘Triumphant’ gotta admit I’m kinda loving it!

        Very Immancipation/E=MC2 but current too.

        Its a good year for R&B with new Monica, SWV product & Brandy about launch her new record , as is Anita Baker in September (Anita has just released a new single ‘Lately’).

  11. Billy says:

    Just seeing my two favorite albums of all time being mentioned in this forum and receiving positive remarks really made me happy! In my opinion, Mariah’s “Butterfly” and Janet’s “The Velvet Rope” are two of the best albums ever produced. The lyrical depth they display, the exqusite musicianship they exhibit and the personal importance they hold in their creator’s lives make for two very special listening experiences. I could go on and on about them but I’m glad other people acknowledge these works!

    Julius, just letting you know that I’m a fellow ‘lamb’! Wishing you a quick recovery!

    As for Miss Ross’s “Every Day Is a New Day” album, I must admit it is one of my favorites. The video for the “Not Over You” remix was one of the first times I fully became aware of who Diana Ross is and I clearly remember the album being displayed prominently in various record stores in my city. I love how personal and somber it often sounds, as it allows Diana’s expressiveness to hit its peak. I initially thought I loved “Take Me Higher” more, but I’m not sure anymore! I think that this album sticks to the formula of its predecessor only superficially, since both lyrically and performance-wise it offers something different. There is an introvertedness throughout the album that Diana had not explored so extensively in a whole body of work before.

    It really feels as if it is a concept album that narrates a story. There is a cohesive theme from beginning to end. I love both the title track and “NOYY,” while “Sugarfree” is expertly catchy and sophisticated.

    I second the ‘divorce album’ title, which garnered further comparisons with Marvin Gaye’s 1978 “Here My Dear” album, which is truly a masterpiece. Let’s not forget that in the booklet Diana mentioned that she was thinking of Marvin a lot at that time; could be a nod or something!

    Overall, the album is of excellent quality and a strong statement by Miss Ross. It’s frustrating that other parameters overshadowed the music she was putting out during the 1990s. I somehow feel this has changed at this point.

    1999 also saw the release of Mariah’s “Rainbow” (another favorite of mine) as well as other great albums, like Angie Stone’s “Black Diamond” (among others).

    • Julius Maloney says:

      Lamb…? I don’t know the term? Thanks Billy your wishes they mean a lot.

      I hadn’t thought of introspection as a term to place on this record, but much like Paul raised the more somber feeling across many of the tracks, I hear it very much.

      As I wrote previously Miss Ross has been such a pillar of strength & grace for me that I don’t know that I was ever listening for the vulnerability in her performances that I am beginning to find.

      Absolutely there was a blueprint in place from TMH but the actual produced record is much more like those mid 70s records in that it runs the gammit of themes (much like Diana Ross (1976)) & styles. What i really hear now is the different producers and as Zhane (It’s Ponounced Jah-Nay is til one of my favorite records EVAH) was one of my favorites I can now really distinctly hear that production especially on the title track.

      I think the great thing with most music genre’s (especially R&B/Soul records) is that people re-discover ‘lost’ records which allows for some kind of resurrection of these gems.

      Speaking of which I LOVE ‘ Rainbow’, as do I love the ‘Glitter’ “Soundtrack” two ‘lost’ records that deserve much more respect than given. It is here that Mariah truly embraced the R&B/Hip-Hop leanings set up on ‘Butterfly’ (way ahead of their time)

    • OMG @Billy…you were referring to Mariah Lambs not my hip…lord I was just tweeting about Triumphant & had complete clarity & rushed back to note my blonde moment. Fool that I am. LOL!!! I actually googled Lamb & Hip Replacement that’s how I much I wanted to ‘understand’ the term…weirdly there are actual listings. 🙂

  12. Lawrence says:

    I sincerely hope after you get through all the Diana albums, you do not do Mariah. Nothing against her voice, but so many of her tracks sound identical. A critique of her albums would be rather repetitive and dull. How about a blog on my other favorite: Madonna?!

  13. Julius Maloney says:

    This reminded me that there was a clip from the follow up Oprah Show (2004 maybe? Anyway the ‘Return to Love’ episode) where Diana gets to talking about love songs & begins to sing ‘It’s My Turn’ & chokes on the lyrics that’s how raw she must have been through the entire period post Every Day Is a New Day.

    I found the clip on YouTube along with the closing number Only Love Can Conquer All (which I know comes from TMH but oh we’ll it’s a lovely performance) the fact that she gives up the mike to one of the choir (who quite rightly loses her sh*t at the end) shows what a deeply generous lady our Miss Ross is!

    • Paul says:

      Julius — yes, the “It’s My Turn” moment was when Diana was promoting “Return To Love” — one of her finest TV moments ever, in my opinion. Her honesty and emotion in that brief performance of the song were just overwhelming — for viewers, and obviously for her, too. Her “Only Love…” on that show was also stunning — I wrote about it in my analysis of “Take Me Higher.

      • Julius Maloney says:

        Yes, it’s like Diana is just as surprised at her response than anyone else. Beautiful, touching moment. It seems like th whole of the early 2000s was a bit of a roller coaster for Miss Ross.

  14. spookyelectric says:

    I feel a little bad saying this after reading the tidal wave of love for this album – but I’ve got to admit I’ve always regarded this as one of the weakest albums in Diana’s catalogue. Sorry! Alongside ‘Workin’ Overtime’ it must be my least played of her records.

    I always felt the opener and ‘Open Window’ were the only tracks that really had any vitality to them, and even those I found a bit too overproduced and ‘stagey’ for my tastes. The main problem though is the Malik productions that form the heart of the record – that sequence just slows the whole album down and feels very leaden and joyless to me. Diana’s vocals are really lost, way too far back in the mix (compare her vocals on ‘So They Say’ to ‘Free I’m Gone’ for instance) and the backgrounds way too prominent. But I think the main problem is the actual songs – they’re just not great. I see the comparisons to MC’s ‘Butterfly’ and Janet’s ‘Velvet Rope’ – great albums of the time – but sadly these tracks just aren’t in the same league.

    Reading the comments here I see a different perspective of course. Yes there really are some lovely vocals from Diana here. The very contemporary phrasing (a la Destinys Child) that’s been picked up on, the fiery attack on ‘Carry On’… wonderful. Unfortunately I think it’s wasted on weak material.

    Strangely, on re-listening to the album this week, the song that grabs me every time it comes on is ‘Someone That You Loved Before.’ I say that because I’m really not a big fan of Diana’s more sappy MOR side that developed thru the 90s and Diane Warren is virtually the High Priestess of that kind of material. But Diana truly pulls this one out of the bag. It’s that almost world-weary tone people have commented on – it really sells the song. I usually find Warren’s songs very sterile – but here’s Diana injecting it with some real pathos – the pleading section in the second half especially. I even revisited the duet version of ‘Love Is All That Matters’ which I don’t think I heard since the movie came out. I must say I think the duet takes the record to a whole other level. Not because Brandy is such a great vocalist or anything, but that contrast of her sugary young voice doing cute little runs with Diana’s deep mature tones and calm control of the melody – lovely. Another song I’d written off as sappy nonsense I suddenly found deeply moving. A real missed opportunity it never saw the light of day as a single.

    • Paul says:

      Spooky,
      I get what you’re saying — the lack of energy turned me off from this album for a long time — it’s only recently that I’ve been drawn to the muted, somber sound — especially on the urban tracks at the center of the album. I think it’s a “mood” piece — you really have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to the entire CD — it’s not one I can just put on as background music.
      I am, however, in total agreement about the duet — as I mentioned in my analysis — I think it really needed Brandy’s voice and energy.

    • markus says:

      it’s such a shame the Brandy duet couldnt be on here- I think it would’ve made a big difference.

      @Spooky- you named one of my lesser favorites, Someone That You Loved Before. I’m ok with the song but if i could get past that generic Diane Warren feel I’d like it so much more.

      But i do think several the songs (the title track, Sugarfree, even Not Over You Yet) are fairly strong. The only song that really says “slight” to me is Got to Be Free, and even that is relatively harmless. 😉

    • Tony says:

      I completely agree with you in respect to Someone that you love before. It is stunning. I really feel she was singing that one from the heart and to someone in particular. It is like a lament to her late husband.

      • I wouldn’t usually like a very MOR style ballad like ‘Someone That You Loved Before’ – but I think Diana brings such an honest, heartfelt reading to it, it elevates it way above the generic Warren sound you mention Marcus. Plus I think the sequencing really helps – after all those tracks where her voice is mixed back with layers of bvs it’s quite arresting to hear her voice so upfront on a relatively spare production.

        I’ve been listening to the album a lot this week, and have to revise my opinion a little. The title track in particular has really seeped into my head. I still don’t think they’re the greatest songs in the world – good but not great. Diana sounds wonderful on them though – there’s no problem there – I just wonder what she could have done with this neo-soul type sound with some really top drawer material.

        Kind of the same way I feel about the YabYum produced tracks on ‘Take Me Higher’ – as much as I really enjoy them (especially ‘Swing It’), apart from ‘Gone’ there’s nothing that’s really strong enough to joined the ranks of her very best recordings. Imagine if Diana had gotten hold of a ‘You’re Makin’ Me High’ or ‘You Used To Love Me’ – I wonder if material like that would have revived radio’s interest in playing Diana or if it had gotten to the point where it really didn’t matter what she released – they’d already decided her time had gone?

  15. wayne2710 says:

    I’m glad that (on the whole) most seem to enjoy this album. Have to admit that when it first came out I was disappointed with it but it rapidly grew on me, and agree that to listen to it you really have to be in a place of mind, melancholy maybe. Got to Be Free, Sugarfree, Hope is an Open Window, Someone That You Loved Before, So They Say, Until We Meet Again are all really wonderful songs brilliantly sung.
    The one track I genuinely don’t like, and it would seem that here I’m on my own, is He Lives In You – I can’t STAND it !! LOL Maybe because I never really ‘got’ The Lion King, the film was okay but not something I could really in all honesty say I enjoyed, so the musical was something I shied away from. I’m not saying I wish she’d never recorded it just I think it would have been better placed elsewhere – the Christmas album for example.
    Also I’ve often wondered if the title of the album put some people off, assuming it was another of her ‘let’s all join hands and heal the world while we dream of world peace’ gush fests. The song itself is wonderful but the title implies a different meaning than the song delivers.
    Also, am I the only person in the entire world that loves the cover photo ?? !!!

    • chris meklis says:

      Nope- like the cover….don’t love it but then again, I’m the one who goes mad for the metallic lame pant- suit spiky hair Swept Away cover as just the most astonishing and jaw dropping- in a good way- covers, so liking this is second nature 😉

      • wayne2710 says:

        I’m glad to hear it ! Was beginning to think I had extremely bad taste !

      • Lawrence says:

        I think you seem to have good taste. I like it too, just wish she didn’t have so much blush on. I really think the Take me Higher and Force Behind the Power covers are nice as well, and Red Hot is great. My least favorite of hers: her self-titled debut. What on earth?! 🙂 (Oh, I also like Everything is Everything cover quite a bit)

      • Paul says:

        I don’t mind any of the covers you mentioned — I think her worse is “I Love You” — due to lack of creativity!!!

      • Paul says:

        Wayne — you’re a Diana fan — your taste can’t be that bad!! 🙂

      • wayne2710 says:

        ‘Nuff said ! 😉

    • Paul says:

      Wayne — can’t believe you don’t like “He Lives…” as much — I love it!! I agree that it doesn’t quite fit in sonically with the other tracks here, but I think it’s really an amazing piece of work and I’m glad it opens the album. And I loved her performance on Oprah of the song — spectacular!!

      • wayne2710 says:

        I knew I wouldn’t be popular for saying that but really, I just don’t like it ! She should have saved it for a Broadway themed album cos I think it sort of spoils the whole theme of the album. At least with it being the first track I can just skip it and go straight to track two ! I can’t even watch the Oprah show without fast forwarding through it, and they have recently started showing An Audience With… on tv again and they’ve cut it from the show and I have to say I don’t miss it at all ! Sorry Paul ! X

      • markus says:

        I like He Lives in You but i agree it is out of place amongst the other songs thematically. Perhaps she figured she should have something spiritual and “uplifting” for the opening track, conscious of the downbeat theme that ended up dominating the album.

    • markus says:

      Wayne- totally agree with you about the album title. I remember when i first heard it i rolled my eyes, because i figured it had some cheesy happy vibe that people automaticaly dismiss as corny. And that definitely was not the case. I was actually happy when I heard the title track and realized it’s a kiss off to a former lover! 😉

      I have to confess that i dont care for the cover. I don’t hate it, but it’s not a favorite. The makeup and the outfit turned me off. (I dont think we discussed the TMH cover in the review, but I LOVED that cover when the album came out. Still do.)

  16. chris meklis says:

    I like Diana Ross with attitude…it’s the conundrum that I think media, and yes even fans are faced with. We will defend her endlessly reported ‘bitchy’ or ‘tough’ side, but yet would we have followed her every move if she was just another ‘passive aggressive’ wall flower type singer (like Ms. Warwick).
    Amazing how in this album she has been stripped the most emotionally bare than she probably has ever prior to this time in her life, yet sizzling under the burned spirit is that singular sass, that ‘attitude’, that only she brings to her music. It can be heard here.

  17. Tony says:

    Well said and so true!

  18. Luke says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z3fcjspv34 This was released on the Japanese edition of the album. I love it!

  19. Eric says:

    Such a sexy album! The 4 songs in the middle are among her best. A few syrupy songs start things off but i adore NOYY and STS and EDIAND to death!!

    And the metro mix of not over you yet is one of the next club songs ever! I wonder what she thinks of the remix?

  20. Pingback: The Oprah Winfrey Show: Diana Ross & Brandy (1999) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

  21. misterrae says:

    I love this album and have been trying to track down all the different mixes and edits of the songs on Every Day Is A New Day. Does anyone have a list?

    I have a great playlist of all the Divas who came out with “comeback” albums in 1998-2000: Aretha’s A Rose Is Still A Rose, Tina’s Twenty Four Seven, Cher’s Believe and Diana’s Every Day Is A New Day. It’s a great listen to hear these vets tackle more contemporary tracks.

  22. Pingback: Were You The One? The Top 5 Hits That Got Away | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

  23. T-ROX says:

    It’s Diana’s last album with her trademark girlish tone. After that, her voice really changed. Not for the better, not for the worst. It just became different, older, wiser, less sweet. I love it, anyway. Nobody seems to comment that. If you compare her vocal performances here to her later album “I Love You”, it is really different.

    For me Diana’s voice changed a lot, more than Tina’s or Aretha’s in their 60’s. Maybe it’s because her voice was so young, so girlish, so one day she would lose that, inevitably. Tina’s and Aretha’s voices has always been mature, so it did not make much difference when they really became mature or older.

    The 4 contemporary R&B tracks are the best part of the album. I’m crazy about those tracks. “Sugarfree” reminds me of a 2000 version of the Supremes’s classics. It’s the same message of “Stop! In The Name Of Love”, “Where Did Our Love Go” and all those innocent sweet love songs. I can even envision Diana singing the lead as a part of a female trio (it could have been a concept for a music video at the time).

    I’m not a big fan of the “Middle-of-the-road” ballads, they’re a little bit cheesy (STYLB or LIATM), but her voice makes every song a pleasure to listen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s