Laura Nyro Pete Fornatale - Essay

Pete Fornatale

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Listening to a Laura Nyro album is unlike listening to any other record. There are ground rules. First of all, her songs demand your complete and undivided attention. Therefore, you shouldn't even consider listening to something new of hers without first setting aside a block of time to really get into it. Secondly, at least until you are thoroughly familiar with the music and lyrics on any one given album, it is almost imperative that you follow along with a printed lyric sheet….

[How] does one even begin to describe her music? Well, I won't try. Let it suffice to say that somehow she manages to transform the merry-go-round of music in her head into the neatest package of notes, verses and refrains ever assembled.

And finally, there are her lyrics. Laura Nyro songs don't fool around. She makes pointed and determined efforts to unravel the deepest mysteries of life and the universe. And being the fine poetess that she is, she uses language softly, subtly and skillfully to produce the desired effect. At their best, her words glide neatly past the intellect and nestle snugly in the emotions.

Pete Fornatale, "Laura Nyro: Three Years After," in Jazz & Pop (© 1971 by Jazz Press Inc.; reprinted by permission of the author), Vol. 10, No. 3, March, 1971, p. 30.