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A move into more mainstream R&B for Anastacia
on 25 October 2008
I really wanted to love Anastacia's new album.... It's been so long coming and I have loved all her work to date since her debut in 2000. I like lots here but I don't think it's her best work.... I kinda feel that Anastacia has lost a little of her edge here... only that voice is unmistakable but the songs lack originality for me..... I think she will have a little trouble with this album, sales and singles-wise... nothing really stands out from the rest of the crowd of current female r&b artists...
If you want to know how this album compares to her past work well... Anastacia has abandoned the rock chick sound of her 2004 self-titled third album. Personally, I was hoping for more variety this time so I'm not that fussed about her abandoning her rockier sound. I still like lots on the Anastacia 04 album but by the time of her Greatest Hits in 05, I felt that Pieces of A Dream was evidence that Anastacia's rockier work was restricting her to more negative self-pitying themes (sick and tired, heavy on my heart etc) and the feistiness of her other work was being left behind... She leans more closely to her first two albums this time out but yet it's not a totally comfortable slipping back to her old funky and soulful Not That Kind/ Freak of Nature sound. She has really moved into the area of contemporary rnb....
This album sounds like it could really be from anyone from Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson to Beyonce.... It just seems quite run of the mill rnb
Vocally, she is back on top form and her voice fits this sort of rnb music quite well... at times, I felt her rocky stuff didn't allow her do her voice justice so she can't be faulted vocally here.
Lyrically, the album is much more about positive themes on the whole this time out...
Married life is treating her well obviously... I'm glad for her... I felt her 2004/2005 stuff was veering into Evanescence self-loathing misery at times. So, this vibrant, positive energy that flows through the album this time is welcome.
But, musically, I find the tracks very hit and miss.
1. Lead single I Can Feel You is a good indicator of what to expect, it's pretty much r'n'b on the whole this album. This track is decent, similar in style to Ne-yo's summer hit "closer" and he produced this too, it's a good choice for lead single.
2. The Way I See It is probably my favourite so far.... That 60's revival we've been swept with in the past two years (Amy Winehouse, Duffy etc.) has grabbed Anastacia and this style suits her well... it's a strong track, hope she goes for it as a single... I am glad though she didn't go for a whole album in this style because she would just be written off for jumping on the bandwagon.
3. Absolutely Positively: another ne-yo produced track, it harks back to Anastacia's old funky style but with a more modern rnb twist, it's catchy enough but I think it wouldn't fair well as a single and it looks like it will be the 2nd single tho.
4. Defeated: a mid-tempo rnb track that is fair enough but it could be anyone singing this... Mariah, janet, beyonce, it's very generic rnb.
5. In Summer: a really nice track, it's a real summery, easy listening style track, kinda like wishing well from her debut...
6. Heavy Rotation: I absolutely HATE this! It just jars the flow of the album... it's a real fast, dance song... it sounds like the sort of dance remix you'd never listen to from a single unless you're into pure dance music.
7. Same Song: I like this song, it's another funky style number that would have fitted nicely on Not That Kind/ Freak of Nature.
8. I Call It Love: I love this track, it's a rock and dance music mash-up that really works, its so energetic and catchy. Sounds like an 80's style rock track... lots of synths, a catchy guitar riff, and catchy chorus... perfect.
9. All Fall Down: This is a return to the sort of sound from her 2004 rock album... it's another decent track but wouldn't grab your attention as a single or anything.. it's fine for the album though... it's catchy enough
10. Never Gonna Love Again: A slow ballad... lots of piano, strings.... Works well.. really allows Anastacia flex that fine voice of her...
11. You'll Be Fine: a mid-tempo rnb track, nothing really special, but it's pleasant enough, just doesn't grab you...
12. Beautiful Messed Up World:
Its okay again but I I could take or leave it....
In the end, I really am a little disappointed with the album.. the mistake I feel is going down the road of modern rnb production..... it's so over-done now, anyone could have had these arrangements on their album.. it's just the lyrics and voice that is pure Anastacia...... I wish her well with this, maybe with some very carefully chosen singles, it will all go well but I have my doubts how this will be received well.