Track-by-Track: Joy Denalane’s Effusive & Energetic Album ‘Let Yourself Be Loved’

Let Yourself Be Loved Album - Joy Denalane
The German queen of soul Joy Denalane’s US debut is a beautiful update on a classic sound: The spirit of Motown is very much alive in ‘Let Yourself Be Loved’.
Stream: “Be Here in the Morning” – Joy Denalane




The German Queen of Soul has made her American debut, and Joy Denalane has arrived. Let Yourself Be Loved (out September 4, 2020 via Motown Records) is pure Motown. There isn’t another record label that has become a genre unto itself the way that Motown has, and the adoration for its classic sound and musicians has endured for decades. There have been many that have attempted to replicate the spirit of Motown, but few manage little more than stale, lifeless copies.

Let Yourself Be Loved Album - Joy Denalane

Let Yourself Be Loved – Joy Denalane

Joy Denalane is different. Even aside from being on the label itself, there is something that feels effortless about Denalane’s version of the sound. She has breathed new life into a modern rendition of an era, updating the sound while staying true to its roots. Let Yourself Be Loved is effervescent. At turns, it twinkles; it swoons; it pulses. Denalane’s syrupy smooth voice is a little bit Diana, a little bit Etta.

“I wanted to make a classic soul album”, says Joy Denalane. “Stylistically, I wanted to move in the phase from the end of the sixties to about 1973.”

Songs like “Wounded Love” and “Top Of My Love” highlight her range and energy, while the sultry duet “Be Here In the Morning” (with C.S. Armstrong) and the vulnerable “Love Your Love” show her incredible knack for melody — something that has made the Motown hits from the ’60s last as long as they have.

Joy Denalane © Ulrike Rindermann

Joy Denalane © Ulrike Rindermann

At its core, the album is, unsurprisingly, an album about love in all its forms — and while it may cover familiar ground, it is far from a rehash. It is a joyous celebration, and we are lucky to have it. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Joy Denalane’s Let Yourself Be Loved with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her new album!

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:: stream/purchase Joy Denalane here ::
Stream: ‘Let Yourself Be Loved’ – Joy Denalane



:: Inside Let Yourself Be Loved ::

Let Yourself Be Loved Album - Joy Denalane

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Wounded Love

“Wounded Love” is a song about a love that is falling apart and about a partner that is still trying to hold it together. It’s a very heartfelt and deep song, a bit dramatic and it reminds me of the big movie for some reason I think it has to do with the instrumentation.

Be Here in the Morning

I am super happy that I got the opportunity to work with C.S. Armstrong, a great singer and musician who became a friend of mine and the song is about a relationship that’s in a good state, but maybe there is a moment where the partners tell each other that if you don’t see me for who I am we’re going to stumble into a problem. Honor me for what and love me for who I am and if you do that then I’m gonna be there in the morning.

I Believe

“I Believe” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid is my first single and it’s a song about feeling in a safe space, when you fall in love with somebody for instance, like in that particular situation that we’re singing about and you feel free enough to be who you are and the person loves you for who you are. I am more than honored to have worked with BJ the Chicago Kid.

The Ride

“The Ride” is a pretty cool song about a couple or two people who are in a situation where they can decide whether they want to spend time together or not and the woman is the leading part, pretty much.

I Gotta Know

“I Gotta Know” is a song about infidelity and betrayal, and the person who is singing the song is not okay with the way she gets treated by her partner. And I- If I was her, I would say the same thing.

Hey Dreamer

“Hey Dreamer” is a song about a couple that believes in love and believes in their dreams – and that dreams come true if you will. And it’s also about a couple that has been going through a lot of ups and downs and who at the end decided to stay together and that they’re happy they have each other and they celebrate their love.

Stand

“Stand” is a song about endurance and that you are going through so many things in life and a lot of times you cannot really- you don’t really have an influence on certain situations that you end up in and it’s like a mantra that is trying to say “I mean you have to stand and keep doing what you do”.

I Love Your Love

“I Love Your Love” is love song, obviously and it’s about admitting your feelings and I think a lot of times we’re caught up in relationships and emotions and you’re trying to protect yourself and you’re trying not to get hurt and that song is totally opening up about the feelings that one person has for another and I think that’s something that we should do more often.

Top of My Love

“Top Of My Love” is about feeling lonely and it’s about self-love at the same time and I think it’s a very hard- it’s a very hard thing to do when you feel lonely to have love for yourself and it’s a song that describes a certain phase in my life, when I was quite young and I felt different from the rest and I didn’t really know how to fit in. I decided to go for self-love and rise to the top of my love in order to become who I am today.

Let Yourself Be Loved

“Let Yourself Be Loved” is about a very complicated relationship and sometimes you end up in situations, where you love each other, or you have a lot for each other, but you are in different stages in your life and it just doesn’t come together. One is there, one is there and even though the love is big enough, maybe you’re not ready for it and it says sometimes it’s okay to let go.

Put in Work

“Put In Work” is a song about following your dream and holding on to your vision and being okay with the fact that, if you have a dream and you don’t reach it right away you still stick to it and you keep believing in it, because maybe at some point, even though it’s not the result that you dreamt of at first, at some point you find your peace with the way you chose for your life.

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:: stream/purchase Joy Denalane here ::

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Let Yourself Be Loved Album - Joy Denalane

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Mariel Fechik is grad student at the University of Illinois, and she works as a Teen Services Advisor at a library. She is the singer for the band Fay Ray, writes poetry, and also writes music reviews for Third Coast Review. She loves sea creatures and plants.