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ALBUM REVIEW | POP

Joan Osborne, ‘Love and Hate’

Joan Osborne has had many career highlights, from touring with the Dead to earning a Grammy nomination for her 2012 blues album, “Bring It on Home.” But she’s mostly just bringing mushy pop on this new one. The songs contain some promising melodies, but she really struggles with the lyrics. Many are ponderously gushy and serve to derail the music. The opening “Where We Start’’ veers into Celine Dion-like adult contemporary pop, with gussied-up strings and the groaning verse “hand me down my dancing shoes / hand me down my silver wings.” The art song “Secret Room” gets flattened by the line, “I am waiting to be found like a diamond waits for a miner.” And the mild “Up All Night” is saddled by the line “every time with you is made of gold.” Many songs are laid-back piano ballads, though she does offer a more Osborne-like pulse in the rocking “Thirsty for My Tears.” Overall, file this under: great voice, bad lyrics, and bad judgment. (Out Tuesday)

STEVE MORSE

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Essential “Thirsty for My Tears”

Joan Osborne headlines the Center for the Arts in Natick on April 17.

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