Album: Natasha Bedingfield

Unwritten, BMG
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Natasha Bedingfield's album starts promisingly with her two hit singles, but tails off into routine R&B exercises that don't serve her voice with any distinction. She might claim, in "If You're Gonna?", that she likes things more extreme, faster, higher and louder than the everyday, but away from that track's gritty techno snarl, there's little evidence of such extremity in the music. The acoustic guitar R&B grooves of tracks such as "We're All Mad" and "Unwritten" sound lacklustre and off-the-shelf, while the bluesy slide-guitar figure that opens "Silent Movie" subsides into a mid-tempo ballad whose over-extended film metaphor ultimately collapses in upon itself. Not that Nat's entirely bereft of decent lyrical conceits: in tracks such as "Size Matters" and "I Bruise Easily", she deals sharply with the difficulties of finding Mr Right, while "Single" includes the most compelling argument for living alone, "I don't need another half to make me whole". "Unwritten", too, makes a fair case for se

Natasha Bedingfield's album starts promisingly with her two hit singles, but tails off into routine R&B exercises that don't serve her voice with any distinction. She might claim, in "If You're Gonna?", that she likes things more extreme, faster, higher and louder than the everyday, but away from that track's gritty techno snarl, there's little evidence of such extremity in the music. The acoustic guitar R&B grooves of tracks such as "We're All Mad" and "Unwritten" sound lacklustre and off-the-shelf, while the bluesy slide-guitar figure that opens "Silent Movie" subsides into a mid-tempo ballad whose over-extended film metaphor ultimately collapses in upon itself. Not that Nat's entirely bereft of decent lyrical conceits: in tracks such as "Size Matters" and "I Bruise Easily", she deals sharply with the difficulties of finding Mr Right, while "Single" includes the most compelling argument for living alone, "I don't need another half to make me whole". "Unwritten", too, makes a fair case for self-determination: "Drench yourself in words unspoken/ Live your life with arms wide open." Would that the contribution of the inaptly-named Bizarre, of D12, had been left unspoken: his rap on "Drop Me in the Middle" is pitiful, as jarringly out of character with the the album as the heavy rock guitar in the big power ballad "Peace of Me".

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