Luck of the Draw by Bonnie Raitt, June 25,1991
Sometimes it’s hard for well established artists to adjust to changing trends in music. Luck of the Draw represents what I’m talking about. When the 90’s came along, artists had to adapt, much like they had to when the 80’s came around. Bonnie Raitt was not immune to this change.
Bonnie Raitt had, up until this point, been a purveyor of blues rock. The change subtly started in 1986 with the release of Nine Lives. Nick of Time followed in ’89 and finally in the new decade, this, her eleventh studio album. Bonnie Raitt enjoyed success with the last two albums she had made up until this point. There’s a first time for everything, and this is Ms. Raitt’s first time on this blog.
The album opens with Something to Talk About. This song was everywhere in the summer of 1991. It’s blues pop, plain and simple. The single did very well on the charts. I remember being afraid of the backup vocalists when I was a small child. I had some strange fears. Good Man, Good Woman follows and it too, was a single. The song did not do so well on the chart. In fact, I don’t really remember hearing it on the radio. Next comes her most famous song: I Can’t Make You Love Me. I will admit I do like this song. It’s a slow ballad and yes, it too was everywhere in the fall of 1991.
Tangled and Dark is a bluesy number, that might just be the sleeper on this album. Preferably for a reason. This is not Raitt’s best. Not by a long shot. I like my blues, but not like this. Come to Me seems to be filler. The song is bluesy, but still I’m not feeling any vibes from it. I had my hopes set high. So far, they are unfulfilled. No Business has a jangly opening and decent bassline but I’m still not feeling it. This is filler. If this album was a taco from Taco Bell, the “meat” would be a mix of sawdust and water with some caramel color; pure adulterated meat. One Part Be My Lover has a typical-of-the-period synth opening. Why do I get the feeling that this filler has no substance? I don’t think her original fans really liked this album, but oh well. I think she alienated her original fan base here.
Not the Only One was the other large single off this album. WRZE played this like it was no tomorrow. I do remember that, and I remember my dad turning it off whenever it came on. Papa Come Quick (Jody and Chico) tries to capture some of her older fans back, but I don’t think it does a good job. This is filler. Slow Ride has a decent bassline, but the old Bonnie Raitt is gone. She is polished, and I think she’s starting to sell out here. The title track has more of that synth, but her guitar shines through. Finally, we come to All at Once. This track has a personal memory attached to it, but I’ll get to that in a second. I believe this song was a single, but I don’t recall hearing it back then. The memory I’ve associated with this comes from Christmas of 1998. I had just arrived on Nantucket to spend Christmas with my grandmother. That evening I was over at my dad’s apartment. He had the stereo tuned to Cool 102, or WCIB 101.9. This song came on, and I remember hearing the well written lyrics. This is perhaps the ultimate sleeper song on this album.
Is Luck of the Draw shit?
The album is a mixed bag. Consisting mostly of filler, this album relies on the strength of the singles alone. Ultimately it fails to do so. My interest just was not maintained. I like Bonnie, but this is not a good starting point. Her albums from when she started out are amazing, and I recommend that you check those out if you wish to get into Bonnie. Slick production and over accessibility kill this album. I hate to bring this person up, but my former stepmother hated this album. She said that “Bonnie wasn’t staying true to herself.” I hate to agree with her, but she’s right. Wherever you are, Deb, thanks for the advice. So, I hate to ruin Ms. Raitt’s first time on this blog, but yes, the album is shit in the end.
Singles from Luck of the Draw
I Can’t Make You Love Me- 1991
Slow Ride- 1991
Something to Talk About- 1991
Come to Me- 1992
Good Man, Good Woman- 1992
Not the Only One- 1992
All at Once- 1993