"Joie de Vivre!" was the second album by Diana Marcovitz. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the scant information I possess about this cabaret-style, comic singer/songwriter. I understand that she hailed from Canada, moved to the US, and garnered attention as a performer, possibly in New York. Her first album, "Horse of a Different Feather", appeared on Columbia
a couple of years before this one.
"Joie de Vivre!" was - to my mind and ears - an improvement on the debut. True, in some ways it smoothed out some of the performer's eccentricities (though hardly), but it also represented artistic development - the songwriting is better, the vocals are better, and the team (including the Brecker Brothers, Ula Hedwig, Ralph Shuckett, and Eliot Randall) is better. Production was by Lew Linet, with arrangements by Fred Thaler, and the project was undertaken in New York.
Songs move in and out of the zones of pop and cabaret, with one excursion into disco. Rolling Stone didn't like it (I believe Stephen Holden wrote a negative review), but the far harder to please Robert Christgau did. I'm with Christgau - I find the album amusing, memorable, and quite a lot of fun. My attention is held most by the title track, "Angel of Death", "Don't Call It Love", and "The Divorce" - as with all the tracks, these are intriguing little musical dramas. I was about to use the word 'vignette', but thought better of joining the multitudes of journalists who misuse that word because they think it confers intelligence on them.
Don't let the comic aspect deter you from the appeal of this unusual performer and songwriter - while tracks such as the witheringly effective 'Drop Dead' establish her credentials as a comedienne, she is not limited in this regard, and songs like "I Love You" exhibit her ability both to pen an effective ballad and to locate its emotional core through her performance.