Expectation is a funny thing. Sometimes it is placed upon an artist and sometimes an artist bestows it upon themselves, either way, given Tracy Bonham's earlier career highs it is part and parcel of this record. It is five years since Bonham last released an album and you speculate if this time away has seen a musical sea change, a move in direction, but no. I personally never got the acclaim that was put Bonham's way, especially after the success of her 1996 album Burdens Of Being Upright. The voice never appealed and the music was way to generic and besides the likes of Alanis Morissette did it so much better.
Masts Of Manhatta sounds tired. There is no passion or soul to this album. The songs are workman like and the production sterile. There are a few nice moments in the shape of Your Night Is Wide Open and Reciprocal Feelings, even given the cringe inducing lyrics, but these are scant relief from what is a jumble of musical styles that range from Zydeco (kind of), Nova Scotia folk and AOR. If I was told that Bonham wrote the songs on this album 20 years ago I wouldn't be surprised.
I'm sure that there are those out there who will find a connection with this album in much the same way as some people think that line dancing is fun but I doubt it. Bohnam may be older but she is none the wiser.