>Music: Leona Lewis – Echo
What better to do on a sunny winter’s morning than give the new Leona Lewis album a listen and tell you whether it’s any good or not?
Echo kicks off with the single ‘Happy’ which seems to have been around for ages now. It took me a while to get into this song – initially I found it all a bit too much. The ‘and the kitchen sink’ method of producing a ballad added to the epic screeching towards the end left me needing a bit of time to process. I really like ‘Happy’ now although there is no denying it fails to match the amazingness of ‘Bleeding Love’ becoming very much your typical sequel.
Next up, ‘I Got You’ – a lovely little pop song which sounds like something you would hear on the radio every 5 to 10 minutes in the mid nineties. Hints of more modern production keep it sounding not timeless but certainly not outdated.
‘Can’t Breathe’ is one of those big ‘question the meaning of life’ electro tinged ballads which seem to be a staple of ‘Echo’. It’s the sort of thing Leona does best but you know what they say about having too much of a good thing. Lots of big warbly notes and yet again Leona’s heartache manifests itself as some kind of physiological problem.
More than a hint of the Ryan Tedders on next track ‘Brave’ despite it actually having nothing to do with him. It’s one of those big military style ballads (think Sparks ‘Battlefield’ but less explicit). It’s ok but won’t set the world on fire. I get a real sense that it’s a song with the potential to be much better.
Leona takes a nifty side step into the eurodance realm with ‘Outta My Head’. It stands out like a sore thumb amongst all the ballads and somewhat exceeds the strict mid tempo speed limit but as a stand alone track she pulls it off. It’s got a bit of an Erasure meets Alice DeeJay and pops into the studio with Rihanna feel about it eventually breaking out into some sort of potential Eurovision winner.
‘My Hands’ is one of those sort of make it up as you go along songs, almost as though someone forgot to actually write it and is very much back in ballad land. It has potential for use on a Nivea advert but that’s about it.
‘Love Letter’ starts like Kelly Clarkson’s ‘My Life Would Suck..’ but ends up sounding like one of those up tempo Celine Dion songs.
By the time ‘Broken’ comes along more or less everything on ‘Echo’ starts to blend into one. It would be wise to remove any sharp implements, loose bits of rope, etc. from the immediate area before listening to this album.
A brief glimmer of hope as that nineties radio sound returns on ‘Naked’. It includes a nice effect which sounds as though the batteries have run out at the end of the chorus.
Then ‘Echo’ peaks with the much talked about cover of ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ by Oasis. It is literally ten times better than the Oasis version and will be the soundtrack to millions of first dances at ‘ASDA’ weddings next year.
You may as well stop listening after that unless you are a big Justin Timberlake fan – he pops up for ‘Lost Then Found’ at the end which really isn’t as good as it should be.
I have no doubt some of these songs will grow on me over time but as with so many of these kinds of ‘big’ albums nothing on ‘Echo’ really excites me. It’s all very safe and that’s the reason it will sell millions upon millions of copies in Tesco to mums too concerned with freezing chicken breasts and washing school uniforms to worry about whether the music that is sold to them is actually any good.
Leona will appear on The X Factor tomorrow night.
‘Echo’ is released in the UK on 16th November, the single ‘Happy’ is out tomorrow.