On Walk Under Ladders, Joan Armatrading makes a leap to a more pop sound without losing the distinct mix of styles of her previous work. This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music’s list of 150 Greatest Albums By Women. In Rolling Stone in 1999, Melissa Etheridge described Walk Under Ladders — singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading ‘s seventh studio album — as "the best produced huge album that never was." (In other words, it was her best album — even if it wasn’t her best-selling.) Etheridge has even paid homage to the 1981 album, often covering the song "The Weakness In Me" during live performances. Although artists including Etheridge and Fiona Apple cite Armatrading as an important influence, and her music has been covered by the likes of Melanie Safka and U2 , she remains an underrated and wholly unique voice among singer-songwriters. Walk Under Ladders is her seventh — and greatest — studio album, on which Armatrading makes a leap to a more pop sound without losing the distinct mix of styles of her previous work. Though she has plenty of moving ballads in her canon, Armatrading — who was […]