Album: Anastacia

Anastacia, Epic
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The Independent Culture

Since Anastacia's 2001 breakthrough album Freak of Nature, the leather-lunged singer has waged a personal battle with breast cancer, which, one supposes, is reflected in some of the material on this follow-up - though ironically, not in "Sick And Tired", a complaint about a lover's "so malign" attitude. It's more likely to be the trigger behind the anthemic positivism of "Welcome to My Truth", and the source of the vulnerability exposed in "Left Outside Alone" and "Seasons Change". The latter, a song about the impermanence of things, finds Anastacia reflecting, "When you feel invisible/ Just know you're not alone", over punchy bass and chunky rock chording: even before the blood-curdling shriek towards the end, it's a bit of a mess, neither fish nor fowl, musically. This, presumably, is an example of what she calls her "sprock" music, a fusion of soul, pop and rock lacking the usual curiosity of eclecticism, which has supplanted the funkier sound of the previous album. It's not, in all honesty, a good move, effectively ironing out the idiosyncratic wrinkles of her style to fit a drab heavy-rock sound. Her voice remains a commanding instrument of awesome power, well beyond the capabilities of most R&B divas and talent-show popstrels, but it's undersold in these surroundings, leaving her sounding more like the 21st-century Bonnie Tyler.