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4.5 out of 5 stars32
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VINE VOICEon 8 June 2006
There's an intriguing little footnote at the bottom of the sleeve notes to Nerina Pallot's debut album. It's a Bible reference that directs the reader to Mark 8:36 - "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" That question seems to underlie most of the material on "Dear Frustrated Superstar" - not just explicitly, as in the title track, but as Nerina herself explores her life and seems to question whether it's possible for her to maintain her own integrity as a major recording artist. In some ways there's a special irony to the question as her debut album caused barely a raised eyebrow when it arrived on the scene in 2001. Credible female singer-songwriters were hardly the vogue in a time when the dominant market forces in pop music were reality TV shows and Westlife (indeed, Natalie Imbruglia's "White Lilies Island", the album to which this most closely compares, fell on equally deaf ears at the same time).

It may have been a result of market forces, or simply the fact that this is a debut album from a young songwriter, but the distinctive Nerina Pallot sound (brilliantly captured on 2005 follow-up "Fires") takes awhile to establish itself. You could almost be forgiven for listening to the first five tracks and dismissing the album as another country-rock-lite collection in the Sheryl Crow vein. But there are a few sparks of something bigger, better: the piano accompaniment on "If I Know You" is sparkly and remarkably sophisticated, and "Watch Out Billie" has one of the most infuriatingly catchy choruses around, even if it does sound spookily like a long-lost Kirsty MacColl track.

Somewhere around "Rainbow", "Alien" and "Jump", however, the album moves up several notches in sophistication. Suddenly, Nerina seems to find a distinctive voice and the courage of her convictions. The resulting songs are tenfold more beautiful, more original, and more outspoken. Here is somebody who not only writes and performs delightful tunes, but who has a critical eye turned to the foibles of herself, her friends and her society. "Alien" joyously affirms the spirit of society's misfits; "Jump", beneath a beguiling melody, gives a scathing critique of the search for love in the 21st century; and "Very Good Sir" allows a little glimpse of Nerina's own hopes and dreams, with a chorus that just seems to grow in intensity and sparkle on every listen. From here, there really isn't a bad track on the album. Nerina's piano playing is augmented by some delightful orchestration, and her voice flits effortlessly from almost girlish innocence to cynical irony without apparent contradiction. Everything is fresh, and a delight to listen to.

The album reaches an emotional peak with the exhilarating "Blood is Blood". A song dedicated to a fairy, but with possibly the biggest sing-along chorus of Nerina's career so far. "God" inevitably invokes comparisons with the Tori Amos song of the same name; this track is less subversive, less disillusioned, and shows a searching soul, someone who wants to believe and is determined to do so, whatever life may throw at her. And "My Last Tango" is simply unique, ranging from a plaintive single voice to the full glory of a Romantic piano concerto in no more time than the average pop song. There's poetry here as well as an entrancing melody, and a sure sign that there are still greater things to come from this captivating songwriter.
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on 22 September 2002
I first heard Nerina Pallot on a late night radio show plugging this album. She played an acoustic set and I was hooked. I bought it on the first day of release and have never bored of it! Every song means something and Nerina's voice is truly stunning...she sings with feeling. She's been compared to Alanis among others, but I think Nerina stands on her own as one of the best singer / songwriters of recent's just a shame that she hasn't been properly publicised. Fave tracks would have to include, Patience, Someday Soon, Alien, Daily Bread and Jump...I'm gonna have My Last Tango played at my wedding...Oh blimey, I love all the songs!!!! If you get the chance to hear her play live.....GO! She is fantastic!
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on 7 April 2002
I saw Nerina live supporting Bryan Adams and I went out and bought her album... it's good! Highlights include Blood is Blood (any song addressed to Tinkerbell gets my vote), Jump ("Don't call the ambulance I'm still alive, If I should break my neck I'll make the news") and the full orchestra on My Last Tango. Nerina plays the piano beautifully, as well as the guitar, and her sweet voice slides around the clever lyrics like chocolate sauce: rich, husky and verstatile. Could be annoying but the songs are strong enough and very well produced. More, please.
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on 22 August 2001
People compare Nerina with Alanis and other angst-y rocker types, and I agree witht ehm to an extent,but her real comparisons should lie amongst the pop/rock elite where clever lyricists and wonderful musicians appear. I can add four definite comparisons to the list: Annie Lennox, Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Kirsty MacColl. Ms Pallot certainly does not sound a lot like any of those artists (apart from maybe Tori Amos in the pianist comparison), but she certainly has the wit and cleverness aswell as the melodies to give any of these greats a run for their money.
I have talked about and listened to very little else since buying the album upon its release on Monday, and I would definitely call myself a real fan of Nerina's work - the album is absolutely astonishing. There's so many outstanding tracks to list - the singles "Patience" and "Alien" are great, and "Someday Soon", "Watch Out Billie", "Jump" and "Blood Is Blood" are all absolutely stunning pieces of grown-up pop.
I'm going to wait a while before definitely calling this the best album I've ever bought, because I have to think seriously about "Dear Frustrated Superstar"'s ability to overtake Annie Lennox's "Diva" and Eddi Reader's "Eddi Reader" as the best album in my collection...
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on 28 February 2002
'Dear Frustrated Superstar' features the two singles 'Patience' and 'Alien'. Nerina Pallot has not recieved much publicity on this album or the singles from it, but that is not to say she doesn't deserve it! Tracks such as 'Alien' and 'Blood is Blood' will make you sing out loud (but you'll never be able to match Nerina's angelic voice!), whereas tracks like 'Dapne and Apollo' will mellow even the most stressed person! I also particularly love 'God' as it is a really haunting track. Nerina'a talent shines through in this debut album as she sings, composes and plays many of the instruments herself. If you get the chance to see her live (as I did at V2001), GO! You won't regret it!
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on 14 February 2002
I bought this album purely on the chance of liking it! My judgement proved right, having read positive reviews of it, I decided to give it a go.
Pallot's vocals are soft, dream-like and sweet.She is a musician with talent, playing both piano and guitar in addition to vocals. 'If I know You' has a very catchy chorus, with complimentary instrumentation, it's not a song that you could forget easily. 'My Last Tango' is a lament, which boasts an instrumental solo later on in the song with beautiful orchestral strings and piano pirhouette. 'Patience' and 'Alien' have been released as singles, I know I heard 'Patience' in the background on Eastenders!
'Someday Soon' starts off with a very catchy piano ditty chased by a lively beat. 'Rainbow' demonstrates stronger vocals, but a great tune and very catchy chorus accompanied by an interesting succession of instruments it finds it's way into your head!.
'God' manifests Pallot's reflective side, with a haunting melody,whilst 'Jump' has a very cynical edge to it.My favourite track has to be 'Blood is Blood'with clever lyrics, an appealing chorus, strong melody and effective backing vocal, which is Pallot herself...excellent!
This album is a treasure chest of inspired talent,bringing back the hope that there ARE talented musicians out there! This album cannot disappoint.
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on 6 November 2001
I'm always a little apprehensive when buying an album on the back of one single, ie. the fabulous 'Patience', but in this case I certainly wasn't disappointed. This is an album of well crafted, beautifully executed pop/rock. There isn't a bad track on here, and the best part is they're all written by Nerina herself - what a girl! Her voice is stunning and really shines on every track, especially 'Watch Out Billie'.
I'm amazed Nerina isn't a household name already, we can only hope the record buying public cotton on - this album should be number 1, trust me.
In short this is a cd which should be in everyones collection, a really solid album you won't tire of in a hurry - I can vouch for that!
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I have to admit, I didn't come to Nerina's work straightaway. Although I haven't got her second album, FIRES, reviews of it suggest that it could be as good, if not better than DEAR FRUSTRATED SUPERSTAR. What finally made me decide to buy her debut album was that someone said she created great acoustic piano tracks. In a sense, this is not what you get on DEAR FRUSTRATED SUPERSTAR. The songs have more orchestration than I was expecting, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

There is no doubt that Nerina has the potential to become a huge star. Although, it would be interesting to know why, after this debut, her record company dropped her. I understand this happened? After listening to the album, I cannot understand why they would do this.

Others have compared Nerina to Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow etc. While I can see where some of these come from (Tori plays piano, so does Nerina!), I think people reading the reviews should not get too concerned with these comparisons - to a large extent, they are going to be relative to the people making them.

Something that perhaps draws Nerina into such pools of comparison is the range of themes that are examined within her songs. Love in all its many faces is, of course, included but there is a fair bit of religion thrown in for good measure. With tracks like "Daily Bread", "Blood is Blood" and "God" being the obvious ones.

For myself, the best of the songs are "God" (please do not compare this to Tori Amos's song by the same name - Tori's is vastly different, in my opinion), "Jump" (which is a greatly cynical song about relationships and how far some are willing to go for the other), "Blood is Blood", "My Last Tango" and "Daphne and Apollo".

This album is one which requires repeated listens before the greatness of it hits you. It shows great promise for her second album . . . In fact, it will probably not be long before I go off and get that too.
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on 12 June 2007
Nerina Pallot was loved by Radio 2 and this was the album of the week on that station but she was still dropped by her recording label - the question must be why?

Could they not see the obvious promise of her songs?

Did they want this very pretty lady to sell out and become more poppy?

I believe it was the latter and she had some integrity as her follow up album shows. Under the normal girl angst there are some deep lyrics looking amongst other things at the human condition "God" or falling for the wrong type of man "Jump" and many others. I do not believe it is the job of a reviewer to rate each song but just to say that I found some worth in all of them.

Well worth a listen.
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on 23 October 2001
The first time I heard of Nerina Pallot was when I saw the video for Patience on MTV. I was struck by how different it was from everything else around at the moment, how it seemed crafted even though it's as catchy as hell. Well, the amazing thing is that unlike 99% of albums today, every song on the album is as good, if not better, than the single, and the album itself covers so much ground. Forget the Alanis comparison, think more Joni Mitchell (like on "Very Good Sir"), or Carole King (the title track), good old fashioned songwriting values. But those are just broad comparisons, this is a record by a singular artist, who is pretty much in her own league.
As those winter nights draw in, this is the record to curl up to!!
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