Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten

'Unwritten' is 100% pure, unadulterated pop and that's no bad thing at all when it's as well written and produced as this. It's clear that Natasha Bedingfield has not only a splendid voice, but has a solid understanding of what makes a great song as well. You might already have heard her last single, 'Single' and if you liked that you won't be disappointed with this. It's more of the same, but intelligent and varied. 'Single', if you haven't heard it, has a loose garage sort of feel to it, with a funk-lite bass line that gives it it's substance and hook. It's horribly catchy and shows a real understanding of the alchemy of pop.

There's an easy swagger and confidence to the songs that belie the genre she's working in. Some of these sound timeless and could have been written at any point during the last thirty years. 'Silent Movie' in particular has a loose, sixties vibe to it that swirls and undulates under the main rhythm. This sort of thing is present throughout, the album -'I'm A Bomb' has a superbly dirty sounding walking bass line punctuated with little keyboard fills and hook that'll worm it's way under your skin like a tattoo. Her delivery here is top notch as well, she comes over with sass and attitude - it's warm and superbly produced. If anything, that's about the only criticism you could make of the album; that it's not so much as produced as polished to within in an inch of its life. There's nothing spontaneous about it, but that's being harsh. When the songs are this well written, it's churlish to complain about them.

There is another low point, however. The presence of Bizarre from D12 does nothing to lift 'Drop Me In The Middle'. Listen to the fool - "Cause all I do is rap and eat steaks / And wish the world was a better place". Doesn't that deserve some sort of award for being one of the most depressing, idiotic and childish lyrics ever to grace a song and 'Bizarre’s whole sorry verse lowers the tone immensely and makes your toes curl. Do you want another bit of it? Go on, then. "Born in the ghetto/Raised in the ghetto/I need a medal/For getting the hell out of the ghetto". It's very clever stuff, isn't it, and really makes you think. You think 'Who on earth is this clown and why is he on this nice record? Make it stop.' Fortunately, he only shows up for a few seconds and then slopes off to wherever it is he hangs out. Hopefully it's somewhere far away.

It's a shame, because most of the album shows an intelligence that's often lacking in pop. Ms Bedingfield is far from some simpering pop idol spouting platitudes. Its not Poet Laureate stuff, but there's feeling and soul here in the lyrics and the music as well. From the gospel overtones of 'Unwritten' to the acoustic finger picking and neat chord progressions in 'We're All Mad' this is a warm, wet album that's just too inviting to be able to resist diving straight in.

Overall

7

out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 11:53:13

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