Michelle Lawson - I Just Wanna Say

Fresh from a slot supporting Craig David and her signing of a contract with Mercury Records/Fontana, Michelle Lawson's I Just Wanna Say is a pop/jazz song built around a fantastic sample taken from Freda Payne's How Do You Say I Don't Love You No More, which, when played alongside a crackling rhythm and sunlit harp, sets the song off on a blissful three minutes and twenty seconds. Lawson has a wonderful voice that's significantly stronger than those who could be called her competition, with a good sense of timing her delivery around the backing. Despite not normally being a fan of anything or anyone that might have shared a bill with Craig David, this really isn't bad at all and Lawson does deserve success should her album feature material as strong as this.

However, Track 2, being a remix of I Just Wanna Say, is absolutely terrible. Those of you old enough to recall those years when any unsuccessful artist, by dint of having a dance remix, could attain chart success will remember than this entailed little more than the stripping away of the backing track and the bolting of a basic drum track and a, "Woo! Yeah!" James Brown sample. Well, in this case, the James Brown sample hasn't been brought in but everything else is there and eighties dance remixing has gotten no better as the years have passed.

Finally, what would have been the B-Side, Don't Give Up, which has been co-written by Lawson, is surely the single's best track. It reminded this reviewer of a track that may well have been recorded by the Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac had they spent the previous night at Ronnie Scott's and is great fun indeed. Once again, Lawson does well, toning down her belting vocal for something a little more subtle and the track works without ever requiring any great effort from the listener.

Should Michelle Lawson's album follow through on this promise, it will be a fine album indeed - maybe not suited to those desperate to hear the latest Slipknot album but for those who are fans of smooth pop, this should go down very well.



out of 10
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