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Debut studio album by the British singer and 2010 X Factor runner-up. The album debuted at #3 in the UK Albums Chart and features the top 10 single 'Nothing's Real But Love'.
She came second to Matt Cardle on last year's X Factor, but unlike her hat-clad vanquisher, Rebecca Ferguson has yet to criticise her alma mater or claim "there's a lot of conspiracy" to the events of 9/11. The 25-year-old Liverpudlian has conducted herself in a fashion unexpected from a talent show star – with dignity.
That quality is writ large on this impressive debut album. Featuring production from the likes of Eg White (Adele), Wayne Hector (Westlife) and Fraser T Smith (James Morrison), Heaven is a collection of classy adult pop songs dressed in vintage soul clothing. Comparisons to Amy Winehouse and Duffy are inevitable, and not unwarranted, but the most obvious reference point might be the underrated output of Gabrielle – think back to her 1996 hit Give Me a Little More Time.
Yes, it's as cutting edge as buttering bread, but Ferguson wields the knife with conviction. She sells everything from the piano balladry of Teach Me How to Be Loved to Fairytale's slinky Philadelphia soul to funkier, Motown-leaning moments like Mr Bright Eyes. She even nails the string-draped melodrama of Fighting Suspicions, which almost suggests what a Dusty Springfield Bond theme might have sounded like.
Shrewdly, those experienced production hands keep the arrangements lush but unobtrusive; even when her songs are embellished with strings, horns and Dusty in Memphis-style backing vocals, the focus remains firmly on Ferguson's voice. It's a terrific instrument – as rich, strong and flavourful as posh coffee, and entirely free of melisma.
In fact, Ferguson's singing is impressive enough to disguise the odd tired line about butterflies and wild horses or wine and roses. But though she may be a romantic, she's no sap. Witness this insight into a scrappy relationship on Shoulder to Shoulder: "I get a kick when you worry / That you're just no good for me."
Most of these songs concern some kind of romantic entanglement, but it's an exception that supplies the most prescient moment. "[It] won't buy you happy when you've been bought and sold," she warns on Glitter & Gold, a parable for "people who are very ambitious". It's wise advice that, like this album as a whole, suggests Ferguson is far more Will than Gareth.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway I've been listening to the album all week in the car in the house in the gym on my iPhone almost everywhere and it's simply remarkable as it displays a maturity and direction way beyond her years. I have been waiting for this album all year and boy was it worth the wait I'm not sure my vocabulary can describe it fully so how about beautiful stunning well crafted creative top drawer perfection and I've been buying music for over 30 years or more. This is a SOUL album that will warm the heart of even a tatted up black metal fan.
There are no bad tracks on this album no fillers to spoil it and I'd love to have listened to the tracks she left out. My favourite track is without a doubt 'Shoulder to Shoulder' when I bought the piano acoustic version from iTunes it sent a shudder down my spine as the words were so powerful and the intensity of her singing had me connecting with her immediately. That's what I mean when I say 'I get Rebecca' it's because she connects with the listener in a special way like Dionne Warwick and Aretha used to do in the 60' & 70's. Also she co-wrote all the songs and therefore they are all personal to her which I can feel when listening to the album.
Mr Bright Eyes - is pure magic love the production from those Xenomania guys.Read more ›
This album is pretty wonderful.
I feel like I have to start with the most interesting song first - Fighting Suspicions.
I wrote down everything I liked about while it was playing and it is the biggest mish mash of styles I've ever heard in one song. But it works. Right, so it starts all jazz/film noir-esque with the bass and piano etc, and you can actually pretty much picture a smoky Manhattan speakeasy. But then this 90s r'n'b beat kicks in along with some James Bond strings, which shouldn't work after the intro, but does. The first proper verse sounds a lot like The Fugee's version of Killing Me Softly, which I don't know was intentional. Oh yeah, then the bridge verges on reggae, which is BIZARRE (but again, sounds fine). The chorus is total James Bond with the swooping strings and stuff. From there it just kinda blends together and sounds really cool, even if it features the most awkward 'putting-it-in-because-it-rhymes-and-makes-sense-contextually lyric of 'Fighting suspicions, ladies intuitions.' Ehhhh. I've got no problem with the first bit, but the 'ladies intuitions' is so awkward I physically cringe every time I hear it. But other than that, fantastic song!
The rest of the album is good too, I'll get to that now, I just couldn't stop writing about that song.
Okay so Nothing's Real But Love is good on the album, but I kinda feel it loses a certain something as opposed to the acoustic version I heard a while ago, which pretty much blew me away. Great track, though.
Glitter and Gold is total Adele, isn't it? I really like it, but I can see why people would make the comparison. Kinda seems more a warning to herself than someone else though, as I've read by another reviewer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a classy lady with a stunning, soulful voice
Favourite track *teach me how to be loved* I filled up when listening to this as it struck a chord with me