Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I wish I was that brave...

So, the long awaited album by 'the voice' is here, Leona Lewis has finally unleashed Echo on us, the follow up to the near 3 million selling debut Spirit (and that's just in the UK!)...high things are expected and this album doesn't disappoint! A brief overview of this opus;

1. Happy - not in the same league as Bleeding Love or Run, although it tries its best to be...it sounded decent enough as the lead single to me though, before I heard the rest of the album! I'm glad it only got to #2 in the UK as it's really not number one material, but it's still very decent, and a HUGE grower! 9/10

2. I Got You - uplifting pop here, more mid-tempo so nearer to Better In Time than Bleeding Love. Sounds like it could be a future single, very radio friendly. 9/10

3. Can't Breathe - here come's the money note. Showing off her vocal acrobatics in the chorus to this, there's no denying that she does it better than the rest, and this song is again, very good. 8.5/10

4. Brave - absolutely love this one. Almost egyptian sounding, it reminds me of the music in the pyramind/sand level in N64 game Banjo-Kazooie!!! Although the melody in the chorus is actually ridiculously similar to a slighty slowed down and more dramatic version of Got The Feelin' by 5ive!!! 10/10

5. Outta My Head - Leona in uptempo shocker!!! This is like the best song Katy Perry or even Alexandra Burke never got their hands on. A very relevant song for late 2009, drawing on the electro pop influences that have been prevalent throughout the last 18 months. She sounds excellent on this, and the song is brilliant. The next single apparently...not sure if it will go the same way of the other uptempo single, Forgive Me though, and only be a medium sized hit rather than the monsters that she's used to. 10/10

6. My Hands - the intro to this sounds exactly like Bleeding Love's intro!!! This would have been a decent lead single, it's very powerful. It's lacking something for me somehow to take it to EPIC status...not sure what it is. Still brilliant though. 8.5/10

7. Love Letter - another uptempo, although not as uptempo as Outta My Head. This would sound brilliant on the radio too, another potential single? this album is packed with them! 9/10

8. Broken - Another big ballad, no expense has been spared with the production on this album, everything is incredibly grand sounding and dramatic. This is very powerful and good but not one of my personal favourites. 8.5/10

9. Naked - something of a fan favourite so I hear...it's not one of my favourites as such but it's still excellent, and once again, very radio friendly and fresh. 8.5/10

10. Stop Crying Your Heart Out - we knew this was coming, surely!?! The Oasis song has been used to death in X Factor this year and there was always going to be a reason for it. Every creative decision that Simon Cowell makes has a money making reason behind it, and the reason for its repeated spins on X Factor was to raise public awareness of the song before Leona unleashed this. A Leona-by-numbers epic in the style of Run, surely they should wheel this out in a couple of weeks with a stunning video and an X Factor performance and voila, there's another number one single!!! I can see why people wouldn't like this, it's very obvious why it's here, but it's a formula that works, and she could sing the phonebook in this style and I'd think it was the best thing I'd ever heard. Brilliant. 10/10

11. Don't Let Me Down - I doubt this would have made the album had Justin Timberlake not had something to do with it. It's decent enough but it's the weakest song on a stunning album in my opinion, and the production is quite reminiscent to Dima Bilan's 2008 Eurovision winner, Believe, as well as countless Timbaland singles. Should have been left as a b-side but that would have been an insult to Justin. 7.5/10

12. Alive - see Broken, powerful/epic etc...great song but lacks some charm to make it perfect. I would have loved an acoustic/piano ending or something to show some emotion. 8.5/10

13. Lost Then Found feat OneRepublic - it's only fair that Ryan Tedder gives his band a guest spot on this album, after all, he is responsible for Bleeding Love and Happy!!! This is typically excellent, very Stop & Stare/Battlefield. All of his songs sound the same to be honest but the one song that he keeps reworking is a good one at least! 9/10

Hidden track - Stone Hearts & Hand Grenades - this is a great way to end the album. A lovely, much more stripped ballad as opposed to the very heavy production evident on the rest of the album. The melody of the chorus is practically a re-wording of Sarah Dawn Finer's Melodifestivalen classic I Remember Love, but that song has one of the most simple yet brilliant melodies seen on a ballad, so that's fine. 9/10

Overall - A rather stunning follow up to Spirit, which I absolutely loved, but had a couple of fillers. Dare I say that the Justin Timberlake song here is the only thing even approaching filler. A couple of songs seem to lack any emotion/connection, but the music and production is so good that you can forgive it. One of the albums of the year.

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