Caroline Coon

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 161

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["Joan Armatrading"] is as perfect as it's possible for an artist to make without leaving you with the uncomfortable feeling that it represents the peak of their talent….

Her songs have always lingered in the fraught dimensions between love and freedom, the lonely voids between people unable to communicate clearly with each other. She writes about fractured feelings, numb despair, frozen emotions but, for all her ability to describe the bleak side of life and the stark pain of insecurity, she never becomes morbid and self-pitying.

She is just as emotive when she is writing about hot passion. She laces the sadness, which is never bitter, with an especially potent dream of love. She is direct, open, and supremely lyrical. (p. 16)

The feeling of isolation, of needing comfort, of wanting to say "I love you, but not knowing how," are all essential themes in Joan's writing. (p. 46)

Caroline Coon, "Joan-Burning Like Fire," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), August 14, 1976, pp. 16, 46.


Richard Williams


Sheila F. Younge