Petula Clark - Lost In You
It's a given that only those with a few rings in the timber will have heard of Petula Clark, never mind have memories of her chart success in the 1960s or her near-ubiquity on Saturday night light entertainment television during the 70s and early 80s. Nevertheless, this is a lady who has sold nearly 70 million albums over a career stretching back to the Second World War, is well regarded among those with a taste for classy European easy listening - and you know 'Downtown' even if you're not quite sure who sang it. Now in her eightieth year, Lost In You sees her tackle twelve tracks from a variety of sources, including some contemporary covers and a re-working of her most famous number.
Lost In You was never going to be a Johnny Cash-American-style career reawakening but the entire project is utterly justified by one track, 'Cut Copy Me', an after-midnight slice of Saint Etienne pop that might be the best song you've heard so far in 2013. When she breathes "I want you to hold me forever, make it last / Forget the others from my past," there's no sense of her advanced years; Clark pulls from a lifetime of performance as an old-fashioned interpreter of songs and makes the listener believe. It'll stop you dead in your tracks. That same sense of professionalism just about saves what could have been corny run throughs of Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy' and Lennon's 'Imagine', and while a low-key re-imagining of her 1964 hit 'Downtown' seems unnecessary, you imagine she's earned the right to do whatever the hell she wants. Long-term fans may have to fiddle with their hearing aids, but should be delighted that Clark has delivered another album; everyone else should just grab 'Cut Copy Me' and use it as a benchmark against which everything else 2013 throws up should be measured.