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Centre Stage is the debut album from Girls Aloud star Kimberly Walsh. The album was released in the United Kingdom in February 2013 and so is very recent. The album features songs from musicals and the West End and so it is very different to her usual 'poppy stuff'. The CD is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £7.49.
~ * Track Listing * ~
1) One Day I'll Fly Away 2) On My Own 3) Somewhere 4) Falling Slowly - Kimberly Walsh & Ronan Keating 5) Memory 6) Defying Gravity 7) I Still Believe - Kimberley Walsh & Louise Dearman 8) Dreams Can Learn To Fly 9) Another Suitcase In Another Hall 10) Hushaby Mountain 11) As Long As He Needs Me 12) You First Loved Me
One Day I'll Fly Away - This is quite a well known song. I don't know that many songs in the 'musical / west end' genre although this is one I had heard before and knew how the tune went. I have to say that Kimberley doesn't sound that confident when singing this song (you can just hear it in her voice). I could imagine her singing teacher guiding her through this (I.e hold this note for 3,2,1 and telling her to take a deep breath for this high note) etc. It just sounds so amateurish. It's also quite a boring performance, one which me think 'oh just get on with it'. Sorry Kim!
On My Own - A nice ballad which shows off Kimberley's voice. Having compared it to the original version, I do prefer Kimberley's the best. It's not my favourite song on here, but it's ok. Sometimes I do like to skip it though.
Somewhere - I don't really like this song. It's a very dull and boring song which I don't think really goes anywhere. It doesn't show off Kimberley's voice at its best either. Perhaps this song would make been better had she been singing it as a duet with someone else.
Falling Slowly - Ronan Keating joins Kimberly on this one. I actually thought that it was clever how they had teamed her up with someone on the same level I.e another pop star as having an actual West End star to duet with would have shown her up a little bit. I have to say this song does work better than I thought it would; they sound good together and their voices blend well together. Better than I thought it would be.
Memory - I like the beginning of this song with the guitar as it's quite different. Memory is one of my favourite musical songs. When Kimberly first began singing I thought 'oh my god that key is far too high for her'. She sings it well, although I have to say I don't think she has he right kind of voice for musicals. She puts all her emotions into this song. There is a lot of auto-tune in this song and her voice doesn't sound natural which is very disappointing. Obviously if you are going to be in musicals you need to be a good singer to be able to carry it off and therefore you should not to use auto tune! I like this song, but I don't like Kimberly singing it - the song sounds far too high for her and yet they seemed to have been able to make her sound 'perfect' with the auto-tune. Not impressed.
Defying Gravity - I like this song, although not Kimberly's version. The key is far to high for her and she doesn't sound good. It's a shame as it's such a nice song.
I Still Believe - A dramatic ballad - I love the ballad. I don't think that this song suits Kimberly's voice that well. It's a long time before Louise Dearman joins in on this song; but when she does she sounds amazing. I have to say that Louise seems much more professional and natural at singing this song that Kimberly does; she has such a lovely and powerful voice and reaches the high notes with ease. I enjoyed the duet between these two ladies.
Dreams Can Learn To Fly - I don't really like this song. It doesn't show off Kimberly's voice at its best either. A dramatic kind of song yet one I tend to skip.
Another Suitcase In Another Hall - I like this song. It's also quite different to the other songs on the album. It doesn't sound like a musical song as much as the others; it sounds more poppy. This song does seem to go on and on - it doesn't really build up to anything although I still like it.
Hushaby Mountain - I didn't realise what this song was until I heard it and thought 'oh I know this' (kinda). I think that this softer singing suits Kimberly so much more than the 'belting ballads' that she tries to pull off on this album. The first half of the song she sounds really good and then she goes onto belting which just doesn't suit her voice. I think this is the best I have heard Kimberly so far on this album. A nice 'easy-listening' song.
As Long As He Needs Me - Another well known song - I was looking forward to see what Kimberly would do with this song. She sounds very nasally. She really ruins this song! Sorry Kim!
You First Loved Me - A nice easy listening ballad which I think was a lovely end to the album. There are also some good harmonies on this album. This is one of my favourite songs on this album.
~ * So What Did I Think? * ~
First of all, a good collection of well know songs. I think that having such well known songs on this album makes it more interesting because I think that if it had been songs I didn't know then I would not be interested. So it was interesting to see what Kim would do with songs I already knew. Although having said that, I think that they are so well known that we just instantly compare Kim's versions to the originals. She has kept her versions exactly the same as the originals and so they sound quite dull and boring without any personality.
Next up; Kim's voice. I feel mean saying this, but I have never liked Kimberly's voice. It's quite a nasally kind of voice and just isn't nice to listen to. It's the kind of voice which you easily get fed up of after a couple of songs. She can hit the one off high notes well, although when she sings some of the high parts of songs they sound a bit too high for her. She also sounds very tinny and just not nice.
I would describe Kim as being quite a 'wooden singer'. Yes she can hit the notes and stay in tune and keep in time but that's it; she doesn't add anything to the songs, just sings them. In parts I thought that she was adding emotions to the songs, although I just think its the way she sings; in a very moany and whiny way. I could imagine her singing teacher standing in front of her as she was recording this album counting down the length of the big notes and mimicking 'deep breath, deep breath' for the long notes etc. What I am trying to say is that it all sounds very amateurish. She just doesn't seem a natural at it.
So would I recommend it? Well yes and no! If you like Kimberly's voice then go for it. If you like musical songs then maybe you would like the songs but maybe not Kimberly's voice. For me, I like the songs, just not Kimberly singing them!! Sorry!!
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 One Day I'll Fly Away
2 On My Own
4 Falling Slowly - Kimberley Walsh, Ronan Keating
6 Defying Gravity
7 I Still Believe - Kimberley Walsh, Louise Dearman
8 Dreams Can Learn To Fly
9 Another Suitcase In Another Hall
10 Hushabye Mountain
11 As Long As He Needs Me
12 You First Loved Me