There’s an old Hawaiian proverb “he ‘e‘epa ke aloha, he kula‘ilua,” which literally means “love is peculiar; it pushes in opposite directions–to love and be loved” (Mary Kawena Pukui, ‘Olelo No‘eau). No matter which way you look at it, there’s a lot to love about Maui’s own Anuhea and her new album, For Love, released on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2012; AnuheaJams). A mix of poppy reggae tunes and smooth, intimate grooves, For Love explores the highs, lows and peculiar in-betweens of that beloved-and-loathed four-letter emotion. Anuhea describes the album as being “very diverse… [with] a little bit of everything that I am,” adding that she “worked closely with two producers on this album, JP Kennedy from The Green and Dwight Baker of Austin, Texas [who’s also produced for Kelly Clarkson].” This partnership, Anuhea says, helped bring “a great combo of pop and reggae that I feel exemplifies me perfectly.” Songs like “Simple Love Song” and “Higher Than The Clouds” will leave love-struck listeners on cloud nine, meanwhile tracks like “Crown Royal” will have you lusting for a little (or a lot) of grandpa’s old cough medicine. A pleasantly surprising follow-up to her 2009 eponymous debut, Anuhea delves deeper in For Love with lyrically loaded tracks like “What Am I Doing” and “It’s Not The Same” (written by Jacob Hemphil of SOJA)–both of which, I’ve gotta say, hit home in a way that left me the paranoid thought that she’d been reading my diary. “All the songs I wrote on the album came from the heart–from real life experiences,” said Anuhea. So regardless of which direction For Love pushes you, your ears are sure to appreciate the smooth sound of Anuhea’s latest jams.
(AnuheaJams LLC; 2012)
8 out of 11
All albums reviewed in this space are available at Maui’s only record store, Requests (10 N. Market St., Wailuku, 244-9315)