9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A step in the right direction,
This review is from: Glassheart (Audio CD)
Back when Leona won the X Factor in the UK she was hailed as 'the next Whitney Houston' and with the phenomenal success worldwide of 'Bleeding Love' it looked highly likely. However, despite a rather strong debut she was just as quickly criticised for not living up to expectations. I remember when I first got 'Echo' I was a little disappointed with the melancholy feel across the whole album, and it took a while for me to connect with the songs. 'Echo' was by no means a flop but it went largely unnoticed in the US and it seemed Leona had disappeared just like the rest of the UK X Factor winners.
Rumour has it when 'Collide' didn't go down as well as was hoped 'Glassheart' was shelved to shift the focus away from dance orientated music that Leona had been recording. I would praise this decision as while 'Collide' is a catchy song it is far too meaningless for the potential of a voice like Leona's. It always seemed more of a 'feature' track to me. I would have happily welcomed it on an Avicii album but not a Leona one, so I'm glad to see it absent here.
I'm pleased to say there is a lot to like on 'Glassheart' and it seems very evident that Leona is trying to mould a distinct sound for herself instead of relying on the talents of all the best songwriters and producers Syco can team her up with. I would say this album sits comfortably between 'Spirit' and 'Echo'. If I had to sum up the album I would say it is mostly full of anthemic midtempo power numbers. Think 'I Will Be' with the driving piano or 'Happy' with those infectious Ryan Tedder beats. 'Lovebird' is a great example of that.
Leona will always do ballads the best justice but they seem to be taken to a different place on this album. On 'Fireflies' you hear a beautiful contrast between piano accompaniment and heavier electro accompaniment coming in later. I was drawn in throughout. For the purest you have 'Fingerprint' which I would describe as the 'Footprints in the Sand' on this album, a largely stripped back ballad. One for the fans who loved Leona's rendition of 'Run'
Biggest surprise for me was the poptastic 'Shake You Up' which channels 1980s pop not dissimilar to Whitney Houston in that era. 'Forgive Me' with Akon was not the best attempt to go poppy but 'Shake You Up' gives me a lot of faith in Leona to experiment with funkier pop sounds next time around. Even Leona's attempt to incorporate dubstep in the lead track 'Glassheart' is not awful. It's a very well produced track but is heavy on vocal processing and effects due to the dubstep nature. I have no qualms in it being included but if this is anything to go by what the 'Glassheart' album was originally you'll probably agree the album would have lost the voice of Leona and moved focus to the club ready beats. Leona is far better than that.
All in all this album is the rebirth of Leona Lewis and I'd be confident to say she'll be sticking around a while yet! Third time lucky!