By Howard Dukes
December 3, 2011 — Some artists reject the label of “inspirational” or “positive” artist. Being marked as a “conscious” artist is not all that good for sales these days. Inohs Sivad, however, seems to embrace the tag. Her previous record, Changes, contained several tracks that could be considered inspirational – “Brown Eyed Susan” and “Out of the Barrel” come to mind. The years since dropping that strong recording, Sivad confronted the kind of personal loss that will shake even a person with the sunniest mental outlook. Sivad had to assume the role of caregiver to her terminally ill mother, Deborah Orr. When Orr passed away, Sivad joined the ranks of those who lost a parent, as well as the best friend she ever had. That loss eventually sent Sivad back to the studio where she made No Goodbyes.
No Goodbyes shares a few qualities with its predecessor, Changes. Both records contain tracks that are inspirational, spiritual without being preachy, insightful and funky. However, the two records have a different sound. It’s as if Sivad can’t resist the urge to poke the mainstream in the eye. Not only will she make a socially and spiritually conscious record, she makes one that doesn’t sound anything like her previous socially and spiritually conscious record. No Goodbyes contains rock influenced funk tracks, an electronica type dance tune and a jazz, spoken word and hip-hop fused tribute to Sivad’s mother. No Goodbyes’ two ballads – “Thank You” and “With Me” – are nice, but “Changes” and “Serenade” – the two stand out love songs on that 2007 project are stronger in part because both are better showcases for Sivad’s skill as a lyricist and story teller.
Sivad finds her stride on No Goodbyes when she seeks to inspire the listeners or awaken them to the ills of our society. The kind of pain caused by losing a parent often leads to introspection. Although Orr is mentioned in just one of the cuts on No Goodbyes, the matriarch’s spirit courses through this record. On the funk/rock anthem “Let It Go,” Sivad could talking about releasing the type of grief that leads people into all-consuming rut if it is allowed to fester. The theme of another rocker, “Stories,” could be perspective and balance. Sivad tells the story of seeing a teenaged prostitute and a homeless man while driving in her car and coming to the conclusion that there is a bottom beyond the depths of grief. The dance track “Deep Pt. 1” will make sense to anyone who lost a family member or close friend. Sivad sings about turning her body over to the beat and just forgetting her troubles. The song’s hook says it all: “I get lost in the music/and it’s taking over/body moves on it’s on/and I lose control/I escape my problems/any suffering throughout the day/no love no hate/no war no peace/no ying no yang/no this no that/ just deep.”
Art is filled with examples of how grief inspired an artist to reach an artistic height that he or she didn’t think was attainable. That’s not an easy thing to do, and Sivad probably experienced every level of grief while working on this project. On No Goodbyes, Inohs Sivad sings herself to acceptance while giving music fans music that can help them get through their wilderness periods. Deborah Orr would be proud. Recommended.