A Curious Thing Enhanced
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A Curious Thing (Album BP2)
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'A Curious Thing' is the second studio album from Scottish songstress Amy MacDonald, following the successful debut 'This Is The Life'. Here the Glaswegian's songs draw influence from personal experiences of celebrity culture and self indulgent award winners, while allowing raw emotions to prevail on tracks such as 'What Happiness Means To Me'. Throughout the album, a helping hand is provided by long-term fan and friend Paul Weller, whose studio and artistic expertise is showcased on 'Love, Love' and 'This Pretty Face'. The single 'Don't Tell Me That It's Over' is included.
Please note that a small number of customers have reported an issue with this CD whereby the wrong album and track titles are displayed when uploading or playing the songs on their PC. In most cases, the audio content on the CD is correct, but the software used displays the details of another CD. Please also note: this is an issue with the software used to play the CD, and not a manufacturing problem. Customers are encouraged to try playing the disc with a different software package, or on a conventional CD player/Hi-Fi before returning the item, or contacting customer service.
This is the year that a lot of female artists, from Laura Marling to Duffy and Adele, will be facing the eternal pop dilemma of what to do on that difficult second album. Few will have it as hard as Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald, whose 2007 debut This Is the Life sold over three million copies and went to number one in five countries.
A Curious Thing, recorded at Paul Weller’s home studio in Surrey and featuring guest spots from the Modfather, doesn’t sound as though Macdonald is feeling the pressure. It is a bold, grand statement of intent, full of songs of epic sweep that build to undeniable choruses, to be enjoyed by the largest possible audiences.
It sounds bigger and more ‘produced’ than This Is the Life – there is no sense of the girl from Bishopbriggs recoiling from the spotlight. That said, there are a number of tracks here about the perils of fame. Of the dozen songs on A Curious Thing, half concern our celebrity-obsessed culture and the cult of personality that Macdonald has witnessed first-hand since her arrival on the world’s stage. On No Roots she is positive about the rock star milieu: “This life I lead, it’s a curious thing, but I can’t deny the happiness it brings”; but on This Pretty Face she is less charitable: “I don’t care who does her hair / Or what clothes she wears.”
Next Big Thing takes a dim though sympathetic view of reality TV wannabes and An Ordinary Life is a dig at the Z-list celebs she saw flocking round actor Gerard Butler at a party last year. On My Only One she sings, with a weary sigh, “There was time when the whole world was looking at you... They changed their minds from day to night.” Finally, there’s first single Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over –about a pop star she recently saw in full pompous effect.
And yet for all that A Curious Thing doesn’t feel bitter or downbeat. If anything, MacDonald appears to have been energised by her colossal success. The music here is richer and fuller, the hooks more emphatic, and her voice meets it head-on, with a stridency and vigour reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan, even Sinead O’Connor. Even a title such as Give It All Up, which could have been drenched in defeat, is resilient, even defiant. A triumphant return. --Paul Lester
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Top customer reviews
She sings about issues and experiences you would expect from someone so much older and while it is easy to get lost in the upbeat melodies of some songs it is perhaps a credit to her writing ability that you can identify with so many of her lyrics. Waiting three years for another record from Amy was easy as This is the life was in my CD player every day and I never tire of listening to it.
So the new album showcases more of Amy's talent and has much the same mix of uptempo and downbeat tunes as was on This is the life. Having only listened to the album 3 times from start to finish I still haven't completely digested all of the lyrics buy already several tunes stand out including My Only One, What Happiness Means To Me, An Ordinary Life and of course Don't tell me That It's Over.
One track that totally blew me away is the bonus track, I won't say what it is just to say that it is without doubt one of the best cover version I've ever heard. It is simply stunning and if proof was ever needed of Amy's beautiful voice and amazing talent then here it is, I think I now prefer this version over the original, it really is that good.
Check out this album, you won't be disappointed 5 stars from me. Well done Amy
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