In celebration of Carole King's birthday--she turns 72 today--I wanted to revisit an under-appreciated King record: 1989's City Streets. While most people recognize the genius of her early 70s albums, the singer/songwriter released some strong material in the late 80s and early 90s. City Streets is one of her best records from the period, and it works nicely as a song cycle about being in love and living an urban life. The album has a buoyant take on these circumstances, facing challenges with King's characteristic warmth and optimism. The title track is certainly the best here, but "Down to the Darkness" shines as a lovelorn ballad and "Lovelight" floats on an airy production." Yet, King herself is the most compelling reason to listen to the record. Her earthy performance brings these tracks alive, and the soft-rock production indicative of the decade suits her songs. City Streets is a pleasant blend of 80s nostalgia and Carole King's charm.
Happy birthday, Ms King. Your music remains a treasure.