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I have been a fan of Beverley Knight ever since she released her second album Prodigal Sista way back in 1998. Although often considered her debut album that honour infact went to her 1995 album B Funk which only reached 145 in the UK Album charts. Affirmation however charted as high as 11 and acheived gold status becoming her second straight top twenty album.
For me Affirmation confirmed a change in her direction with more ballads than on her Prodigal Sista album which is where the comparisons with Who I am come in. So here is my review of Beverley Knight's Affirmation.
1. Come As You Are" (Beverley Knight/Guy Chambers)
No this is not a cover of the Nirvana track but a track co written by one time songwriting partner of Robbie Williams. This is a catchy uptempo track that has a great chorus and gets the album off to a fine start.
2. Not Too Late for Love" (Beverley Knight/Chris Braide)
This is a lovely ballad that flows wonderfully as her vocals give the song a great quality. This song is about believing in love through hard times in a relationship.
3. First Time" (Beverley Knight/Chris Martin)
This song was written with Coldplay's Chris Martin and the suprising thing is this is actually a great song. I'm not aware of what lyrics Chris Martin wrote for this song but Beverley Knight is the reason this song is so good.
4. Straight Jacket" (Beverley Knight/Peter-John Vettese/Felix Howard)
This is about being in a controlling relationship and finally telling your partner how they are making you feel with their actions. This is a great song with a great message for anyone who has been in a similar situation at some point in their life.
5. Keep This Fire Burning" (Robyn/Remee/Lindstrom/Ekhe)
This funky track was one of the singles from this album and is a very catchy track about keeping a relationship going. This is one of the best musically on the album and a great one to dance to. A great live track as I have witnessed.
6. No One Ever Loves In Vain" (Beverley Knight/Guy Chambers)
Another track written with Guy Chambers and this is an outstanding ballad which is about looking back at a relationship once it has ended and feeling that you did all you could to save it. A beautiful song superbly sung.
7. Affirmation" (Beverley Knight/Guy Chambers)
The title track of the album and one of the weaker links on the album, this track suffers from the music which doesnt really grab you and also there isnt enough of her vocal ability on show. She is singing the song at half her capability.
8. Supasonic" (Beverley Knight/Jimmy Hogarth)
This is an interesting track which has a very catchy musical backing. One of the catchiest tracks she has done in her career so far. Her voice sounds good with a nice laidback feel.
9. Tea & Sympathy" (Beverley Knight/Chris Braide)
This is probably the most interesting musically, a shuffling beat is joined by crashing piano tones. This song is about being attracted to someone who isnt in a great relationship and telling them how you feel about them and how you will treat them compared to their current partner.
10. Below My Radar" (Beverley Knight/Peter-John Vettese/Felix
A lovely slow song about when something hits you when you least expect it like being cheated on or when a relationship ends suddenly for no reason.
11. Under The Same Sun" (Beverley Knight/Guy Chambers)
Another track written with Guy Chambers, this track is about being away from someone but knowing that you are still both under the same sun. This doesnt quite have the spark that her best songs do but it is still a fine track.
12. Till I See Ya" (Beverley Knight/Peter-John Vettese/Michelle Escoffery)
Wow, this is a stupendously catchy track that is up there with the best uptempo songs she is ever likely to do. This track is superbly musical and leaves you thinking wow what a chorus.
13. Salvador" (featuring Al Di Meola) (Beverley Knight/Dj Munro/David Nicholson)
This is probably the weakest track on the album as it doesnt really have a spark like the rest. Certainly not a bad track but just not up to the high standards of the rest.
14. Remember Me" (Beverley Knight)
This is a beautiful ballad that is so simple, just Beverley and a Piano, this song touches your heart with the lyrics and her vocal delivery. Such a beautiful song that is one of her best. This song is about the death of a friend of hers through an AIDS related illness. ("One day we will be reunited, least I hope that is our destiny, so while you chill in the arms of angels, remember me, remember me")
15. Fatal Factor" [Hidden Track] (Beverley Knight/Dj Munro)
This is a hidden bonus track at the end of Remember me and is a Michael Jackson tinged funky disco track which works well. A worthwile addition to the album.
This is a wonderful album which shows off the emotion, power and grace in Beverley Knight's voice aswell as her talent for songwriting with songs such as Remember Me showcasing her immense talent. I have seen her live before and can't wait for her next album so I can see her live again.
I always thought Beverley Knight was quite mainstream. however this was her 4th album and only managed to spawn 3 singles, one of which was a cover. My wife is a fan though and when we went to see Bryan Adams in Swindon a couple of years ago she was the warm up act. Whilst she was ok, I didn't really know many of her songs, so as part of my album collection reviews I feel I should open myself up to more styles of music.
Knight has an easy listening style of music that combines rhythm and blues with some soul and funk, producing a style that has made her one of the UK's most popular singers of this musical genre. Admittedly there's not a lot of quality competition for this position.
On with the review then and we begin with one of her most well known songs and first single from the album.
'Come as you are' is definitely one of her best tracks, with a distinctive opening. Quite a lively track with a mix of styles, quite funky and a bit rocky. It gives her voice a bit of a workout and she manages it well and shows why many people view her as one of the best British vocalists. 8/10
'Not too late for love', being 35 then I'm sure she's hoping thats the case. This song is choc full of metaphors, it's a well written track though that actually makes sense, unlike many songs these days. This was the 2nd single from the album and is sung very differently from the first with longer notes and sung in a slower style, more soulful. 7/10
'First Time' is another heartfelt track from this album which is a very personal album, giving each of the songs a special meaning and therefore well suited to this style of music. This like many of the later tracks I feel are all good, but they are album tracks. The album itself works well as a album and is good for sticking on when friends are round, having a chat, over dinner, that sort of thing. This is partly due to the pleasant voice of Beverley and the relaxing beats. 6/10
Slight change to a more rocky track, the music is a bit harder than the last couple and there's a lot of strong emotions and strong singing in this track. Another very personal song and this comes across a lot in the lyrics and style of the song. Good song. 7/10
'Keep this fire burning' is another single (the 3rd and last). I didn't realise initially but this was initially a hit for Robyn (who was number 1 in the UK charts this time last year with 'With every heartbeat'). The song was never released in the UK by Robyn but was popular in her native Sweden which is probably why Beverly released it here. It's another song that's widely recognised and associated with her, though it didn't do too well for her in the charts. It's very much her style of song and is a good one to dance along to. 8/10
'No-one ever loves in vain' is the next track and returns to the slow ballad, lots of light drumming and piano for the majority of this track. It does mean she has to focus on the vocals and lyrics which luckily are good throughout this album. 6/10
The title track is next and it's a bit of a nothing track, quite a downbeat track and very much an album track. 5/10
'Supasonic' reverts back to the funky style again, but again it's not a great song, she probably had fun recording it though as she has fun with her voice. She mixes up about 3 different main vocal tracks but it becomes quite a chaotic mix at the end. 6/10
'Tea and Sympathy', does what it says on the tin. The song is about giving someone a sympatheic ear, and the obligatory cup of tea. Quite a girly song this, not one for the blokes, easily forgettable though. 5/10
'Below my radar' is another slow song, very much in the easy listening style, very similar to a lot of other stuff on here. The lyrics are often the only thing that separate some of these songs. Better lyrics than the last and a good one for the end of an evening dance. 6/10
'Under the same sun' stays with the slow song style and is reminissent of a slow TLC song. Again it's ok but not a memorable track, in fact I've skipped most of it as it's quite dull, useful as background music. 5/10
'Till I see ya' picks up the pace again and is a much better song. To be fair there is a good mix of slow and more upbeat songs, so if you like the style of music then this is a good album, it's just not my thing and though the first part of the album was bringing me round there is still too much that I'm not keen on. This however as I say is one of the highlights of the 2nd half of the album. 7/10
'Salvador' is a song that is about one of her friends that died from Aids. Thus the lyrics and feelings are from her own personal experience, which as I said earlier does make her music very good and is probably why it is very popular which a wide group of people. 7/10
'Remember me / Fatal Factor' is the last track. Remember me is a good track with just the piano and Beverley, I'd imagine this would be good to see live. The second part is a bonus track that is much more of a party track, very upbeat & very dancy and a good way to end the album. 7/10
Overall the album is an hour long which is good value for money considering there are a few good songs on here. Though many of the tracks aren't very good on their own, when they combine they do make a good easy listening album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Come As You Are
2 Not Too Late For Love
3 First Time
4 Keep This Fire Burning
5 Straight Jacket
6 No One Ever Loves In Vain
9 Tea & Sympathy
10 Below My Radar
11 Under The Same Sun
12 Till I See Ya
14 Remember Me
15 Fatal Facto