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on 5 December 2011
I am at the age where I find brassy loud music irritating but there is something attractive about Rebecca, her voice, and her style of singing and, may it be added, her style of dress. Personally I believe she would make a superb jazz singer. I have never heard the songs on this CD previously but I do particularly like the first, 'nothing's real but love'. One gets the feeling that Rebecca has more potential and that the best is yet to come and I for one am cheering for her.
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on 5 December 2011
A true fan since the first day I first heard her voice on X factor and couldn't wait for this cd to drop through the letter box today.

Sadly I felt deflated after the first 5 tacks and had heard enough. Forced myself to listen to the rest. A fantastic talent to come I am sure but as for the choice of songs I expected something more. Most of these songs could be sung by any decent female artist. It lacks sparkle and the quality of material she deserves. It all seems run of the mill to me.

I just expected something extra special that had been tailered to suit such a unique voice. Only occasionaly does this voice really appear above the parrapit.

Can't single out any high spots or low spots. Just plain average.

Not a patch on Adele the quality unique material she has is how Rebecca should have been presented

Will put it away for a day or two and try it again when my high expectations have gone. Hopefully I will feel differently after then.
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on 5 December 2011
I seriously think Simon made a bad judgement call. In his eager attempts to turn Leona into the next Mariah Carey, he expended all his energies in pumping Leona into the hearts and minds of America and now he's done ! With her powerful voice, Leona could and should have knocked Beyonce, Rhianna, Britney and Katy off their throne. The problem is that Leona arrived in America twenty years too late. Had she been discovered during the Whitney, Mariah & Celine era she would have smashed it.

Leona was marketed as the next 'pop tart' but the problem is that as talented as Leona is, she has no entertainment factor so there is no way she can stand up against her contemporaries. Rebecca on the other hand has a gravelly, jazzy earthy voice that can stand up in a completely different genre and survive, just look at the success of Amy Winehouse and now Adele.

Rebecca's album is good, not great but it shows HUGE potential and had she had the investment that Leona got on her first album, I have no doubt in my mind that Rebecca would be packing her bags permanently and moving stateside where the real fame and money is. Standout tracks for me are 'Shoulder to Shoulder', 'Run Free' and the upbeat 'Diamond to Stone' which would do well if released as a single. This is very good for a debut album and I wish her all the very best in her career.
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on 10 January 2012
I don't watch x factor, but I heard this lady singing from the other room and she stopped me in my tracks. A voice which in my opinion was reminiscent of Ella or Janice, truly entrancing. I feared cowell's demon hand on the tiller when the album was released and so it transpires. No where in the album does Rebecca get to release herself into the music, which I gather was a common critique on the show. I really wanted to be moved by that amazing voice but unfortunately haven't been. I'd have loved her to have done a version or a similar song to "promises" by Lyle Lovett or (almost sacriligiously) Led Zep's "since I been loving you". Which I think could have been hair tingling. However this is playing safe with a voice which is limited by that strategy.
Rebecca if by chance you read this, please, please let loose. I'm serious in how great you could be but without edge and risk you'll be losing out on long term fans beyond the x factor followers.
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on 8 December 2011
Rebecca should have stuck to old-time classics where her voice would have worked magic. As it is she's produced a tiresome collection that lacks imagination, individuality and flair. At best it's mediocre. A songwriter she is not.
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on 3 January 2012
To my surprise last night I happened to see Ms Ferguson at the Andrea Bocelli concert at the O2 in London. More impressively than some of the more trained guests she sang an amazing version of Falling in Love with You. Not becuase it was a cover, but because she has a tallent, this is just further proof that this album could, and should, have been so much better. Check it out on You Tube.

I was looking forward to this release but unfortunately the songs just do not match up to the predictably impressive voice. Glitter and Gold and Teach me How to be Loved are decent songs but everything else is forgettable at best. This release could have been a departure for the usual X Factor product but most of these songs could just as easily have been sung by Matt. We liked Rebecca because of her voice and because she was different so why give her average songs and 'muzac' arrangements? Let's hope for better next time.
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on 10 December 2011
I am going to start off this review with a confession Rebecca' Ferguson's new debut album made me cry and I'm not making that up as about halfway through it tears of joy at how good it was were rolling down my cheeks. I now believe in god as l was on my knees in front of the TV last year praying for her to not win XF as I knew they throw out an album of rubbish and if you've heard her sing the crap that was Distant Dreamer I'd have run for the hills (poor Matt Cardle).

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. It's a great song nice and boppy and I can feel a reggae remix coming along quite soon no doubt it brings to mind sand sea sunny days and it makes you smile it's one I have on repeat.

Nothing's real but Love - I wasn't wowed by this on first hearing but it has grown on me and the lyrics are just class as I can see this being covered by some big names in the future. No money no house no car no job will hit home with a those who have been hit hard by the recession especially those of us in the north of England. Rebecca manges to pour her heart and soul into it and you just know she's lived it as it can't have been easy bringing up two little kiddies. "Maybe the man in charge don't like my face" There's some studio video versions of this which I prefer check them out on Vevo or YouTube.

Fairytale - has that 60's big soul sound drums and horns leading it but it's Rebecca's who's in charge and I love her voice as well as the backing vocals have me singing along it's got a groove that should be down as a single sometime in the future.

Glitter and Gold -this lady isn't daft she's not dazzled by the bright lights and the lyrics tell us that she's keeping her feet on the ground similar in some ways to Fairytale but she does have a growl in her voice which I love. The voice

Fighting Suspicions - lulls you into a false sense of security how many of us expected a billie holiday type jazz ballad and then it's kicks in with a nice club groove people say this reminds them of a bond movie but I just can't hear it. She knows how to get us grooving and I can't wait to hear this is concert when I see her in February next year.

Teach me how to be loved - I think this gave me a lump in my throat when I first heard it on the album but after blubbering over Shoulder to Shoulder I held back the tears. It's an incredible song and it really does showcase Rebecca's vocals and all I know is that she never sounded this good on XF. I think this might be a single release in the future another one that sends tingles down my spine.

Run Free - Listening to this I find it hard to believe its being sung by a 24yr old mum of two kids from Liverpool who made the XF final last year. I knew she was good but she's moved to another completely diffent level since then. it's another grooves that should get you dancing around the kitchen or wherever you hear it. I have visions of people in queues around the UK tapping their feet to it.

Diamond to a Stone - It's big bold and brassy intro gets you in the right frame of mind as she hits the ground running with a nice midtempo track which gets me feeling good all over. I just love how she sings Diamond to a stone right at the end sheer class!

Too Good To Love - probably the only real club track on the album but I love it "you're too good to lose" love that being repeated and the handclaps another groover.

It's very rare that l hear a perfect album and the only ones that spring to mind for me are Earth Wind and Fire's 'ALL in ALL' and Miles Davis 'A Kind of Blue' I can now add Rebecca Ferguson's 'Heaven' yes it's a perfect debut album but then she's a very special voice who can write sings and knows what she wants no with that I wish her well for the future as l know she's gonna make the Americans fall in love with her just like we have here!

This is kind of rushed so I might amend it in a week or two but yes it's a 5 star album and it's my album of the year easily. if she doesn't win a Brit/mobo/mercury award then the man in charge really don't like her face!!
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2011
Rebecca Ferguson certainly doesn't fail to impress on this, 'Heaven', her debut album. In fact, for much of the time, the songs subtle hooks, in addition to Rebecca's wonderfully soulful voice, is truly addictive over repeated listens, in a way that's truly hard to believe she could have anything remotely to do with a show like the X-Factor.

The songs are all soul based, and have a strong connection to 60s/70s soul, which was before the over emoting Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey sickly sugar coated approximation of soul became such a high profile, and ultimately such a gross marketing ploy in the 1980s, and beyond. That is pretty much where many of the more typical Cowell protegees are truly at, but thankfully, not Rebecca.

Many of these songs are incredibly strong, in terms of their composition, their instrumentation, and most strikingly Rebecca's wonderfully heartfelt vocals. Some of the songs are a little more contemporary sounding in some ways, in terms of their production, yet this never overwhelms the true nature of the emotions Rebecca is expressing. In fact, lyrically 'Heaven' is really rather striking because it goes so far against the grain of many of more obviously typical 'love' song cliches. There is a strong autobiographical flavour running throughout, which ties in nicely with the fact that Rebecca has had a hand in the writing of all these songs. In most of the songs, and including 'Glitter & Gold', 'Shoulder To Shoulder', 'Fighting Suspicions', and 'Teach Me How To Be Loved' there is a strong sense of Rebecca yearning to reach out and touch something a little more pure and genuine, often in the name of 'love', rather than the superficial, which is actually really rather moving. To Rebecca's credit, she never takes a false turn vocally, she never sounds contrived, like so many of her contempories, or tries to over elaborate by using vocal technicalities, or range. She is a breath of fresh air, and so pure and natural, and ultimately so believeable. Rebecca really does sound like she's living these songs, and listening to the album, one senses you are almost in touching distance to Rebecca, the person, and not just a more typical (plastic) pop star personna. This aspect of her is, perhaps, the area she shares most strongly with the late, great Amy Winehouse (apart from the obvious similar primary musical influences), and it's a very very rare talent, indeed, she has.

Perhaps not everything on 'Heaven' works so wonderfully well. I feel the final three tracks, 'Run Free', 'Diamond To Stone', and 'Too Good To Lose', find Rebecca recording songs that are perhaps not truly her forte. There is a lighter clubby feel to these songs that is a little more reminiscent of the Dina Carroll style of soul. Yes, they are successful, because Rebecca is such a wonderfully interpretive singer, and she can handle almost anything, yet these songs, i feel, aren't her true forte. They are perhaps a little more bland, and maybe a little too pedestrian, too. However, to put things in perspective, many of her contempories would simply die for these tracks/performances alone, such is the effectiveness of Rebecca's wonderfully effective vocal.

'Heaven' is a great album overall, wonderfully moving in a lyrical, and an emotional sense for much of the time. There is also a subtelty also to be found in terms of the way Rebecca sings these songs, in terms of her never cheapening her art by over emoting, and always remaining sincere, in a way that can really become profound, for the listener, over repeated listens. Honesty, and sincerity, is something that is so very hard to find in today's hyped up pop scene, where true talent just seems so incredibly rare. Rebecca, happily proves most convincingly and most conclusively, to be a rare exception to that rule. Top marks for herself vocally, and for much of the material. Only on three occasions do i question whether the effectiveness of the material truly matches up to her own greatness as a singer.
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on 9 December 2011
It's only taken 8/9 series, but X Factor has produced some talent.
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. She's also getting her sass on and that's never a bad thing.
Shoulder to Shoulder is maybe my favourite song on here. One of those songs about a failing relationship that everyone can relate to without it ever feeling cliched. It's just beautiful, but again, I prefer the acoustic version I've heard before. Also, towards the end she does a weird growl thing that sounds completely out of place. Again, I love this song but it's just a couple of things in this studio version that are like '...really, though?'.
Fairytale is a cool little song. Not a standout, but really catchy and upbeat and whatever. I like it.
Mr Bright Eyes is really bop-along-to-able. It reminds me of... something I can't put my finger on. It's definitely something 90s-ish, but I'm not sure.
Also, I like that while this album does do its fair share of raiding the 60s a la every young popstress over the last five or six years, it throws in some 90s grooooooves (I realised I couldn't get away with 'grooves' in the first place, so just went all out on it, cause why not, eh?) and some smoky-jazz touches. Love love love. Also also, Rebecca's voice totally lends itself to the 60s thing, doesn't it? Yep.
Teach Me How to be Loved I like. It's intentionally simple, but I don't think the melody's quite interesting enough for it to be that simple. Nice enough track, though, and of course, R-Fergz sells the hell out of it.
Run Free is like a track from the album she could have made if she went another way, like when she did that version of Sweet Dreams on the X Factor (which was pretty amazeballs). It's good and she can pull off dance diva in her bloody sleep, but it feels out of place on this album.
Diamond to Stone is some honest to goodness smooth soul. I'd prefer it if it were a bit jazzier I think. It's a bit... I don't want to say 'bland', because it's not, but I feel like it could have benefited from some more time spent on it. It's pleasant enough, though.
Too Good to Lose closes the album and kind of sounds like a Take That song to begin with with the piano. Am I alone in thinking that? Probably. But anyway, it moves on past that and again adds some 90s beats and is a good one to end on, I think. It's all upbeat and stuff and is also probably the most modern sounding song on here, but kind of in a Amy Winehouse on 'Frank' way, where it's modern but has some more old-school sensibilities to it.
So overall, if you're still with me, this is really impressive, especially as a first album written and recorded in less than a year.
I highly recommend it.
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on 6 December 2011
I wrote a heartfelt Amazon review of this album when I first heard it but it somehow disappeared into the aether never to be seen by mere mortals - heaven bound no doubt! So here is a better more balanced review, as I've lived with the album for a while now.

Although I was a fan of hers on the X Factor, I wasn't sure if her singing would be too one dimensional across a whole album, and the quality of songs was always going to be a concern. So what a fantastic surprise to find that this debut album is lovely - a beautiful collection of songs that showcase just how good a singer she is.

The one aspect of this album that is gloriously perfect is Rebecca Ferguson's voice - sultry, soulful, and expressive - but also surprisingly accomplished and controlled belying her debut status. The production allows it to come to the forefront, there's no need to hide such a beautiful voice.

There is a temptation to make comparison's between Rebecca and other singers both present and past, but I'm going to resist, she should be recognise for herself, because she can sing the pants off the best of 'em! She has a classic soulfulness to her voice but the songs here dexterously avoid pigeon-holing her - the single Nothing's Real But Love is beautifully spacious and acoustic, Glitter and Gold has a gospel edge to it, Shoulder To Shoulder is heartfelt torch song and one of the best on the album. Fairytale and Mr Bright Eyes are Motownesque - I love Mr Bright Eyes, a sweet dance soundtrack for a hot summer night. My favourite song on the album is Teach Me How To Be Loved, a gentle ballad with just piano and cello for the chorus, just beautiful and understated. In fact there isn't a weak track on this album. And I'm surprised to be saying that! The question was posed on her Facebook page which song was a favourite on the album, well it shouldn't be - it's too hard to settle on just one.

The album comes across as very honest, sweet and unassuming and I suspect it's Rebecca Ferguson's personality shining through, as she has collaborated and has a writing credit on all of the songs on the album. One should also mention Eg White, one of the best songwriter/producer/musicians in the business - in my opinion the best of the songs are collaborations with him, and it's a credit to the record company that they've had enough faith in her to allow her to not only express herself, but have the backing of a very good team, as she acknowledges in her credits.

I haven't stopped playing this album since I bought it, it's an album full of hit singles and should deservedly be an international success.

Welcome to the firmament Rebecca Ferguson!
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