Leona Lewis has a phenomenal voice, anyone who watched the series of X Factor on which she appeared, or has seen her perform on TV shows since or indeed has seen her perform live can confirm this. I was lucky enough to attend Leona's first and to date only UK tour and she was incredible. So it was with eager anticipation I waited for the release Glassheart (and boy have we been made to wait!). I enjoyed 'Collide' and was disappointed by the widely held perception that it flopped. By contrast I was sceptical about 'Trouble' and I have to admit it is only after repeated listens that the track has really grown on me. I really feel this was the wrong choice of lead single and this has been borne out by its somewhat mediocre chart placing. Here are my thoughts on the rest of the album:
1. Trouble- At first I found this quite dull, however it has now grown on me and the ethereal sounding verses contrasted by the dramatic drums and powerful chorus mean that this really is an album highlight. That said I do feel because of its 'grower' status it shouldn't have been the track to lead the album. 9/10
2. Un Love Me- A very typical Leona track, this would have been right at home on Echo. It's mid-tempo pop in which Leona asks a lover quite simply to 'un love her', despite its clear grammatical flaws a thoroughly decent second track. 8/10
3. Lovebird- I had heard quite a few positive reviews in relation to this track, however in my opinion it's just OK. The chorus feels quite clicheed both lyrically and melodically. Definitely an album track. 6.5/10
4. Come Alive- This is the first sign that this isn't going to be quite the same album we have come to expect from Leona. 'I don't mind if it rains' Leona sings with angst in her voice in the opening lines. This is an uptempo track featuring dubstep, but that it is juxtaposed with the pain of the lyrics and that can clearly be heard in Leona's voice. Super. 8.5/10
5. Fireflies- This ballad is quite simply sublime. It is about someone who has commited suicide, and the track takes the appropriate tone for such a subject matter. Leona's vocals really shine hear and although I am no fan, in general, of choirs featuring on songs here it really, really works and makes for an epic track. I would choose this as a future single. 10/10
6. I To You- This again is something a bit different for Leona. On this track she is playing the downtrodden, subservient housewife who will do anything for the one she loves, but begins to question this on the dramatic chorus. An enjoyable track. 8/10
7. Shake You Up- Many have compared this to an 80's Whitney track and I have to say that feels fair to me. It's the second properly uptempo track on the album and is a real throwback. It suits Leona's voice and it's clear she's having a blast singing it. 9/10
8. Stop The Clocks- I think the title of the review says all I need to say on this track. I'm unsure quite why it was felt necessary to include this mawdling and rather dull ballad. 4/10
9. Favourite Scar- Thankfully Leona has chosen two excellent tracks to sandwich 'Stop The Clocks'. Favourite Scar is a track on which Leona experiments with a reggae sound to her voice not previously explored and it works it really does. I even feel as though the autotune works well with the sound here. It's instantly catchy and could be a single contender. 9.5/10
10. When It Hurts- A Ryan Tedder-style ballad with crashing drums and sweeping vocals. It's not the most memorable track here, but it's enjoyable while it's playing. 7/10
11. Glassheart- Leona once again delves into the murky world of dubstep here and with even more success than on 'Come Alive' in my book. Leona's fragile falsetto juxtaposes superbly with the deep beats on this track as Leona sings about her glass heart. If this is not the second single then something has gone very, very wrong. I genuinely believe this could hit no.1 and help to sell the album. 10/10
12. Fingerprint- A final Leona ballad and it's a pleasant way to end the album. I daresay this track won't be the one that sticks with you for hours after the album has finished, but it's more than deserving of it's place as the closing track. 7.5/10
BONUS: Trouble (feat. Childish Gambino)- What a fantastic name 'Childish Gambino' has and I have to say the rap he contributes to Trouble only serves to further enhance this ethereal masterpiece. 9/10
Overall therefore this album is more than worth parting with your hard-earned cash for, if only to ensure that Leona continues to get the opportunity to make more music and tour. Although I still believe Leona is yet to fulfil her full potential this is a strong album on the whole enhanced by Leona's fantastic vocals.
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