Martha Wash “Love & Conflict”
When it comes to musical acts that make the business of reviewing their music the easiest possible task you can ask of someone, there’s almost absolutely no need to look further than someone of Martha Wash’s caliber. If you’ve even any meager notion of popular music, be it through a modern or retro lens, you’ve undoubtedly encountered her magnificent voice that rings across several iconic hits in an immediately recognizable fashion.
Responsible for crafting the absolute banger “It’s Raining Men” as one-half of the musical duo The Weather Girls as well as appearing on C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” which has sold well over five million copies worldwide, there’s very little doubt in my mind that Martha Wash is a stranger to your ears even if her name has somehow evaded your eyes. What might come as a surprise to you, however, is the fact that Wash hasn’t gone anywhere and her trademark knack for crafting catchy, funk-infused singles is just as sharp as ever, which she only further proves on her latest album Love & Conflict.
Love & Conflict is an album that packs not just a punch but a barrage of hits, even only with its mere eight tracks. The veteran songstress in Wash flawlessly enters the project with “Glamour Flows,” which serves as a fantastic return for the singer after her seven-year gap between projects. The singular uncontested album standout makes itself known in “Never Enough Money,” which grabs onto the timeless aesthetic that permeates throughout the entirety of Love & Conflict and mercilessly shakes it with an infectious, unforgettable rhythm.
The ratio of songs you’d cut a rug to in a club against warm, honey-sweet ballads is a perfect balance that never feels too crowded one way or another, and the songwriting talent present in every track will leave listeners’ ears ringing with memories of masterfully crafted melodies and Wash’s deft ear for musical entries that transcend modern musical trends in all the best ways. The production used on album-closer “Rise and Shine” makes great use of musical textures that would be at home in the ‘90s and ‘80s, and serves as a contagious, dance-worthy ribbon wrapped around a pitch-perfect package to send the album out on.
With Martha Wash’s track record of releasing two of the most instantly recognizable singles in modern music, there was little doubt that Love & Conflict would disappoint and I’m glad to report that it exceeded expectations. Using brevity to its full advantage, the album doesn’t even clock in beyond thirty minutes but doesn’t entirely demand any lengthier a runtime by saying all it has to and then some across eight songs that never feel short-lived or lacking. The marvel of only releasing a few solo albums across thirty years defends itself well with the quality control being accomplished across Wash’s career; there’s really no telling when another project might come from the pop icon, but whenever we get it, it’ll undoubtedly be something to remember.