Singer-songwriter k.d. lang's tenth album, Invincible Summer certainly lives up to the title, with a lazy, warm tone that evokes long summer afternoons lying around doing nothing in particular.
A faintly "retro" feel can be found in many of the songs: some subtly, like "Summerfling," and others more evidently, like "It's Happening with You," which has a 70s-disco sound in the background. This is subtly reinforced by the definitely 70s-style art in the background of the title screen, and certainly goes along with the nostalgic, wistful lyrics of the album. In fact, "It's Happening with You" and "Summerfling" are the most distinctive of the songs here, with more personality than the softer ballads that make up the remainder of the album.
On the whole, Invincible Summer is best described as just... mellow. Fans of k.d. lang will find much to like here, as her voice is very much the centerpiece of the songs, with the rest of the soundtrack serving to support her rendition of the lyrics, and never overpowering her. On the other hand, nothing seems like a stretch here: lang croons through most of the songs with the same level of energy and the same general style. There's nothing in songs like "Love's Great Ocean" or "What Better Said" to really be memorable on their own; on the other hand, the album does have a consistent tone and mood that perhaps make it more distinctive as a whole, compared to lang's other albums, than in individual songs.
The DVD-Audio disc has a very basic menu setup, with a simple list of the songs and their running times serving as both the selection list and the backdrop while the music is playing.
The complete play list is: The Consequences of Falling, Summerfling, Suddenly, It's Happening with You, Extraordinary Thing, Love's Great Ocean, Simple, What Better Said, When We Collide, Curiosity, and Only Love.
Invincible Summer is presented with a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. The sound has a warm, rich quality to it, appropriate to the theme of the songs themselves. k.d. lang's voice is clear and rich, and is nicely balanced with the rest of the track. The surround sound isn't used as much as it could be, by far, though: while the music has been spread to the side and rear channels, the sound as a whole has a distinct focus on the center in most of the songs. As a result, while the overall listening experience is quite enjoyable, it's not as immersive as it could have been.
The "Summerfling" video is included as a bonus feature; it plays automatically after the last song on the track plays, and can also be selected separately. An insert in the DVD case provides lyrics for the songs.
Invincible Summer didn't convert me into a full-blown k.d. lang fan, but it's a pleasant, if low-key, album that is worth listening to. Lang's rich voice is very much the centerpiece of these songs, and those who've enjoyed her other work, or are looking for a collection of mellow summer ballads, will find this DVD-Audio disc worth picking up.