|After almost a year winning her crown as the X-Factor champ, Leona Lewis is finally releasing her debut album Spirit (Nov 12th). And her mentor/manager Simon Cowell made sure she hooked up with some of the best hitmakers in the industry ranging from Dallas Austin, Ne-yo, Soulshack and Karlin, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Walter Afanasieff and Stargate just to name a few. Leona is the evidence that manufactured artists do have talent. In fact, she's done one better - cementing herself as one of the most talented vocalists to be born and bred in the UK. In America, they have Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce but who do we have?
I think she did a nice job of the placid pop-rock ballad I Will Be which was originally sung by rocker chick Avril Lavigne. The Ne-yo produced I'm You is a pretty mid-tempo cut even if a little forgettable. Yesterday is so mid-nineties Mariah Carey but she sings it well. If Ever I Saw Your Face made famous by Roberta Flack, Footprints In The Sand, Homeless and Here I Am all show off the vocal talent that won over legions of X-Factor fans. Angel is your typical Stargate production which replicates Beyonce's Irreplaceable sound one time too many. The synth-pop ballad Bleeding Love which is currently no 1 (for the 2nd week running) is so fresh and different that after having doubts, I couldn't help but fall in love with it. Unfortunately, the rest of the album just doesn't follow. It also appears that severe concentration was placed on an R&B/pop balladry type record just to put more emphasis on her Mariah Carey-style vocals which to me was unnecessary. We spent a whole X-Factor season watching Leona put her contemporaries to shame with her amazing vocal delivery. We know what she's capable of. I didn't hear one fierce up-tempo song. Not one. So much for Danja.
In spite of Spirit having some stunning tracks, it came up a little short for me. There is ONE important element that is missing sadly - it lacks soul. She's a wonderful singer but there's nothing exciting or compelling about the album as nice as it may be. Her lack of personality also came across in the record. It's as if she is just singing the songs and not incorporating enough emotion to complete the sentimental value that the lyrics require. With all the hype surrounding this project, I just don't think she came hard enough. It's like being in a restaurant where you eat a starter meal but you're not really satisfied because the main meal has yet to suffice (Mariah Carey). In fact, listening to Spirit just made me vie for Mariah's comeback even more.
Labels: ALBUM REVIEW, LEONA LEWIS, THE X-FACTOR