Joan Osborne — Love and Hate (eOne) — With her rich vocals and knack for belting out R&B, be it her own material or the string of covers she’s done on recent albums, it’s also nice when Joan Osborne decides to change things up a bit. Such is the case with her eighth studio album.
The Kentucky native reunites with longtime collaborator Jack Petruzzelli for this song cycle that leans heavily on themes having to do more with love than hate. The extensive use of orchestration makes for an intriguing listening experience whether it’s on “Secret Room” and its invitation to a private rendezvous, the lilting strings that caress and carry you into the record via the opening track “Where We Start” or the lush “Train” and its entreaties to emerge from the darkness of romantic doubt.
But there are definite sharp edges that Osborne trots out whether it’s the respect she croons about demanding over the sinister riff that permeates the otherwise ethereal “Kitten’s Got Claws” or the matter-of-fact observations she makes of a relationship that goes south and is at the heart of the funky shuffle “Mongrels.” Love and Hate is the perfect reminder that Joan Osborne’s talents go far beyond her being the perfect vehicle for interpreting vintage rock and soul.