PLAY TILL YOU WIN by CASSANDRA JENKINS

I’ve been waiting for a proper Cassandra Jenkins album for years–ever since she breathed new life into Cat Stevens’ Wild World.

The rare example of a cover that’s better than the original.

Well, she’s finally dropped a full collection of songs. Eleven songs, to be exact. So she’s not overstuffing us with crap just to up her Pandora plays. These are just-under-a-dozen of carefully selected, wonderfully crafted songs that show her range and showcase her breathy, beautiful voice. There’s indie pop, which hits you early on in “Candy Crane” and then again in “Shame.” Then you think you’re getting a cover, but “Tennessee Waltz” is an original pop song that recalls the classic country song in name and tone, but updates it for indie rockers. There’s the drum-driving “Red Lips,” which picks up the pace a bit halfway through the album. And the retro crooner “Hotel Lullaby.” Song after song, there’s not a dud in the bunch.

So yeah, the album and its lead single may be named after the frustrating arcade game where you drop the claw, over and over, and never win, but in this case, every drop is a winner.

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