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Shaznay Lewis, the creative force behind All Saints, who had massive hit singles including "Black Coffee", "Never Ever" and "Pure Shores", is back with her debut solo album Open. Including the storming single "Never Felt Like This Before", Open features collaborations with the hippest-on-the-block Basement Jaxx and Biz Markie. Shaznay is back on pop's A-List.
It's been some time since the demise of All Saints, yet the legacy of their brief career has lived on thanks to the celebrity profile of the Appleton sisters and more importantly, the timeless songwriting of Shaznay Lewis. Open is everything one might expect from a former All Saint--catchy, sassy, funky and just that little bit different.
Lead single "Never Felt Like This" is pleasant radio-friendly adult pop with a nice melody and gentle accompaniment but it's far safer than the rest of the album. For the most part Open is incredibly funky, be it in a soulful way on "Dance", "Don't Know What to Say" or "Mr Weatherman", where Lewis's versatille voice flips between sweet vibratos and smoky whispers, or on body-moving dancehall such as "Mr Dawg" or "Now You're Gone", the latter especially exuding all the charm of Susan Cadogan.
Open takes many risks for a pop album but at no point sounds gimmicky. It uses dancehall, which is again popular, and it uses electro on "Radio" but neither style is blatantly used to stay on a bandwagon. Lewis and her producers inject enough imagination to make it fresh and exciting whilst retaining a high level of accessibility--it's everything that was hoped for from Shaznay Lewis's debut album.--Georgina Collins
Top Customer Reviews
After the release of the critically acclaimed Saints & Sinners, All Saints split up. Former band mate Melanie Blatt released two singles to mediocre success and the Met bar shenanigans didn't help the Appleton sisters to deliver a credible album; instead they created the directionless and hitless Everything's Eventual.
Now Shaznay Lewis is the last to venture into the world of solo with Open. It comes as no surprise that the songwriter is simple in structure, yet effective, and that the hits come easy for the person who basically made All Saints the profound pop band that it was. With songs like the foot-tapping "Dance" and the youthful prance of "Butterflies," Lewis is bound to reign as the queen of mature pop. The lead single - "I Never Felt Like This Before" - is a gorgeous intricate ballad that captures accurate sentiment.
Open also is strong on reggae influences, which appear on the sun-baked "Now You're Gone" and the forever-catchy "Nasty Boy."
Shaznay also meanders into electronic awe on "Radio" and the wanderlust ballad "You."
Other tracks include the swaying honorable mention to big band "Heart Made Me a Fool" and the rock-tinted "Mr. Weatherman."
Like most complete mature pop albums, Open delivers sophistication with a well-balanced mixture of musical styles and paces. Shaznay Lewis is the only survivor of the All Saints phenomenon.
The album has its let-downs with the rather weak Mr Weatherman, and the repetitive Don't Know What To Say (on the subject of writer's block, which she obviously wasn't over by that stage) but even these can be enjoyed.
But overall, as expected, a class album.
Best Track: Heart Made Me A Fool, You
Worst Track: Mr Weatherman
I was very impressed with the whole album, although the beats in 2 songs can be excessive. Its a little in the All saints style but with some dynamic (and good) raggae-ish beats, carribean beats and R & B which makes it different as well.
Its a bubbly feel good album thats great to daydream to, sing to and drive to... it'l definatly pick you up. I think its really worth buying.
Best Tracks : Butterflies, Nasty Boy, Heart Made Me A Fool
Worst Track : Mr Weatherman
Track 1: We start off with an introduction, just longer than a minute. I love it. Personally I would of liked this to have been continued into a full-length song. Using the title of the album, she introduces herself and 'opens the door to let us in'. 10/10
Track 2: Definately the second single. A strong up tempo song featuring a rap by Biz Markie. She sings about dancing with her ideal partner. She sings 'I don't wanna stop', and I don't want her to, a great song. 8/10
Track 3: The debut single, and one of my favourites on the album. It's a slow ballad, but with a bit of kick. A perfectly produced pop record. 9/10.
Track 4: Probably the worst record on the album. Mr Dawg is the only song not co-written by Shaznay, and is produced by Basement Jaxx. Annoyingly repetitive, too bad that Basement Jaxx couldn't save it. 6/10
Track 5: Starts of with crackling in the background to give the impression of an old record. Features backing vocals from former All Saints pal Mel Blatt. She sings about a former lover she fell for but who broke her heart. Fairly bland song, up tempo but just plods on. 7/10
Track 6: You is a slower song that we've heard so far. There's not much background music so her voice stands out above all else. She sings about how everything good in the world reminds her of the person she loves. Very good. 8/10
Track 7: This is where Shaznay comes into her own, and is definitely a competitor for the third single. This is probably the best song on the album. An up tempo song, using pathetic fallacy to show the state of her romantic affairs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Out of all the solo All Saints material, Shaznay's album is the one that continues to intrigue me the most. Read morePublished on 12 April 2007 by Alex A.C.M
After hearing the wonderful 'Never Felt Like This Before', I was awaiting this album with anticipation. I can't help feel massively disappointed. Read morePublished on 19 Aug. 2004 by Michael Mouse
I was a bit reluctant to the idea of another allsaint having a go at a solo career since after recent tries the other three hadnt got very far. Read morePublished on 18 Aug. 2004
The expectations were obviously too high for Shaznay Lewis. After taking a four year absence due to 'writers block' it's no surprise that her return to the charts caused little... Read morePublished on 5 Aug. 2004
I only listened to this CD for the first time today, and it's definitely possible to say that this sounds like nothing that All Saints (or Shaznay) has done before. Read morePublished on 1 Aug. 2004