Square the Circle (Joan Armatrading album)

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Square the Circle
Square the Circle Joan Armatrading.jpeg
Studio album by Joan Armatrading
Released 8 June 1992
Recorded Bumpkin Studios
Genre Pop
Length 42:38
Label A&M
Producer Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading chronology
Hearts and Flowers
(1990)Hearts and Flowers1990
Square the Circle
(1992)
What's Inside
(1995)What's Inside1995

Square the Circle is the thirteenth studio album by British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading. It was released on 8 June 1992 by A&M Records and was Armatrading's last album for the company to whom she had been signed for almost 20 years. It includes her last entry in the UK Singles Chart to date, "Wrapped Around Her", which peaked at number 56.[1]

Background[edit]

The album was recorded at Bumpkin Studios, her own purpose built studios. Ex-Japan bassist Mick Karn stayed on from her previous album, Hearts and Flowers, while Graham Dickson once again engineered the album, the third Armatrading album which he had been asked to engineer. Other personnel staying on were Jeremy Pearce who did the design work, while Andrew Catlin was once again asked to do the photography and Sarah Southin returned as a designer. The album is unusual in that Armatrading uses female backing singers. No female backing singers had appeared on an Armatrading album since her debut album Whatever's for Us in 1972, and those were not credited. Subsequent albums used exclusively male backing vocalists. The singers were Linda Lewis, her sister Shirley Lewis and Sylvia Mason-James, all experienced session singers.[2] Linda Lewis had worked with numerous artists, including David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Rick Wakeman, while Sylvia Mason-James had worked with the Pet Shop Boys and Simple Minds, among others. The album's songs show a preoccupation with gender and male versus female characteristics.

The tracks "Wrapped Around Her" and "True Love" were released as singles.

Reception[edit]

The album reached number 34 in the UK album charts but did not chart in the US.

AllMusic reviewer William Ruhlmann was critical of some of the sentiments on the album, singling out "If Women Ruled The World", and did not comment on the musicianship. The album received a star rating of 3 out of 5 on that site.[3]

Chris Heim, writing in the Chicago Tribune, noted that "her sound is pared down to direct, catchy pop-rock with only traces of the folk, reggae and jazz stylings that filled past albums" and that Armatrading "retains her touch for writing upbeat tunes that instantly burrow into memory and soft, low ballads that resonate with exquisite pain". He concluded that Armatrading "continues to be one of the most penetrating chroniclers of affairs of the heart in pop today". [4]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and arranged by Joan Armatrading.

  1. "True Love" – 3:57
  2. "Crazy" – 3:48
  3. "Wrapped Around Her" – 3:48
  4. "Sometimes I Don't Wanna Go Home" – 4:59
  5. "Square The Circle" – 4:10
  6. "Weak Woman" – 3:56
  7. "Can I Get Next To You" – 4:16
  8. "Can't Get Over (How I Broke Your Heart)" – 3:56
  9. "If Women Ruled The World" – 4:32
  10. "Cradled In Your Love" – 5:16

Personnel[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Official Charts: Joan Armatrading". Official Charts.com. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Linda Lewis". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Square the Circle". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  4. ^ Heim, Chris (30 July 1992). "Joan Armatrading Square the Circle (A&M)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 December 2013.

References[edit]

  • Sleeve notes: Square the Circle, 1992, A&M Records (75021 5388 2)
  • Larkin, Colin (1997) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Virgin Books, London. ISBN 1-85227 745 9