2 min

My adult contemporary

Chameleon queen rules the waves

'ALL IN LOVE IS OURS.' With her latest CD, Invincible Summer, KD Lang continues to inspire international beach blanket mayhem. Credit: Xtra files

It’s 1994, the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. On a gorgeous summer night, I’m strolling with friends through Greenwich Village, NYC. Then a drag queen with a suspicious British accent yells at one of my buddies: “Hey, Johnny. The last time I saw you, we were fornicating to KD Lang on a beach in Morocco!”

KD Lang will surely inspire more international beach blanket mayhem with her latest CD, Invincible Summer, a joyously sensual collection of 11 songs featuring singing and writing equal to her best.

Summer music always evokes sun-drenched memories. And listening to Lang’s seductive, feel-good tunes, you’ll hear echoes of your fave summertime music. I keep hearing Herb Alpert, The Carpenters, Starland Vocal Band and Kate Bush. (Is that frightening?) Lang lists The Mamas And The Papas, Roy Orbison and The Beach Boys as some of her influences on the album.

Like most of her recent releases, Invincible Summer improves with repeated listening. But it shouldn’t take too long to appreciate “Consequences Of Falling” (the only song not written by Lang) and “Extraordinary Thing,” two tracks which sashay along with stately, soulful grooves; another fave is “Simple,” a heart-rending lullaby.

Country, rock-a-billy, torch songs, a whole range of pop sounds – there is nothing this girl can’t sing. And with each transformation, Lang rejects the tired and true tactics of too many artists who sample and ape other people’s sounds; Lang gets inside each type of music and then produces her own respectful but very contemporary version.

Some fans might regret that Lang reigns in her big voice on this album (produced by Lang and Damian leGassick). But she turns in a masterful, nuanced performance that’s very intimate. It’s a clean sound suitable for campfire jams or lovers’ serenades. Think fireflies, not fireworks.

Overall, the CD is more melancholy than the first single, “Summerfling,” would lead you to believe. The liner notes explain the album’s title and hint at the songs’ emotional core: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” The quote is from French existentialist Albert Camus – not the best cottage reading.

Summer isn’t just the season of love, it’s the season to escape real world troubles. You sense that Invincible Summer is Lang’s willful refusal to succumb to the vicissitudes of the tough music industry. She has said creating the album “was like rediscovering the happy, optimistic side of myself that I lost touch with in the stress and confusion of maintaining a career.”

At 39, Lang is at the height of her abilities. But she now operates far from the stratospheric levels of popularity she enjoyed a few years back. Luckily, faith in her own talent wins out over naysayers. With Invincible Summer, Lang continues to chart her own course, confounding critics and one-night-stand fans who wish she’d just do 1992’s Ingenue over again.

Invincible Summer is perfect for that 8-track in your 1975 red Mustang convertible. You’ll find yourself singing along as in days of summers past.

“Gonna find my baby/ Gonna hold him tight/ Gonna grab some afternoon delight/ My motto’s always been when it’s right it’s right/ Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night….”