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Natalie Imbruglia an Austrialian singer who is often thought of as a bit of a one hit wonder as people usually just remember her massive hit single Torn which came out in 1997 and went Platinum. However she has actually done a lot more than that and has released four studio albums, the greatest hits compiliation which I am reviewing here and a live EP.
I listen to a lot of female singers and Natalie Imbruglia is one I often overlook and don't listen to that often, but whenever I do get one of her CDs out I always enjoy it and think I should listen more often! The two albums which I have, Left of the Middle (1997) and White Lilies Island (2001) both have some excellent songs along with some weaker or less memorable ones, so Glorious: The Singles 1997 - 2007 was a great way to get most of the best bits together. It included 9 previous singles and 5 new songs.
=== Track listing ===
2. Counting Down The Days
4. Wrong Impression
7. Wishing I Was There
8. That Day
9. Big Mistake
10. Beauty On The Fire
11. Be With You
13. Against The Wall
14. Stuck On The Moon
The new songs are Glorious, and the last four songs on the CD.
There is one song which I love, City, from the album Left of The Middle, and this is the only other song of Natalie's which I wish would have been included on the CD (but it wasn't a single, so I didn't expect it!)
=== Atmosphere ===
This is a CD which I think is really suited to a summer day like today and I have been enjoying it in the car and on my ipod while lying out on a sunlounger in the garden. It is quite poppy on the whole but some of the songs have a rockier edge to the them and some are quite intense and emotional, but it is all very accessible and easy to listen to.
There is not a single really weak song on the CD. Although the singles and Glorious are more instantly appealing, the new songs are nice and very listenable although they can blend in to each other a little bit on the first few listens as they are not the most memorable.
I usually prefer singers who are more towards the rock/pop/folk style than r&b, so Natalie Imbruglia does not seem out of place in my music collection.
=== The Songs ===
Glorious was a new song for this compilation. I really like this song and think it is a perfect piece of summery pop. It is extremely catchy and has simple, upbeat lyrics like "and it's glorious, just to laugh like us, and the world will turn, it'll never stop 'cause I've got nothing to hide and we've got nothing to lose". It is a definite feel good song. It is an excellent opener to the album and when I first heard it it definitely made me hopeful for the new songs.
Counting Down The Days was from Natalie Imbruglia's third album of the same name, which came out in 2005. It starts in a slower fashion than Glorious and the atmosphere seems to have taken a turn for the more subdued, but it builds up in intensity as the song progresses and this is a song which I would call a "grower". It is not as instantly catchy as Glorious as it not quite as in your face but it has a real appeal and a lovely melody to the chorus.
Torn is easily the best known song by Natalie Imbruglia and probably doesn't need much introduction or explanation. I would be surprised if anyone reading this has never heard it and I would say it is a bit of a 90s classic. It features impressive vocals from Natalie and you can hear what a good voice she has. The tune is powerful and catchy, the lyrics are interesting.
Wrong Impression is one of my favourite songs from the second album, White Lilies Island. It is another upbeat and extremely catchy one which I think is perfect to listen to out in the sun. Although the feeling of it is optimistic, the lyrics are not completely happy, as they are about calling out and trying to make a connection with someone she loves, "have you ever wondered what we could have been if you'd only let me in?" It has a hopefulness to it but the lyrics are more about yearning for something than actually being happy.
Smoke is one of my favourites from the first album, Left of the Middle. It brings a change of tone to the Glorious singles collection as it is darker, more brooding and definitely not such an upbeat summery pop gem as the previous ones. The lyrics seem to be about domestic abuse. Natalie can do this style of song very well too, as she sings with a lot of emotion and her voice sounds strong and clear. Parts of it are sung with power and parts seem almost spoken. The musical accompaniment is interesting as it even has prominent strings towards the end, making a change from her usual more guitar based songs.
Shiver is another great one! This is from the third album, Counting Down The Days. It is quite a laid back but poppy song with easy to listen to vocals and light, enjoyable melody. I think it is similar in style to a lot of the others and I would say it is quite a typical song from Natalie Imbruglia, but not boring and I don't find that it gets samey, as Smoke beforehand was quite different.
Wishing I was There is another one which keeps the standard high as is another slightly rocky pop song which is upbeat and catchy in the chorus. The lyrics are quite empowering and are about being happy on your own and not being desperate to have someoone back, such as "boy I'm not some doll that when you leave me I'll be wishing I was there". I do think this is a good message as it's nice to have songs about being strong on your own, doing your own thing and not always needing someone just to be in a relationship for the sake of it if the person is not right (yes I am single at the moment, can you tell!) It is from the album Left of The Middle.
That Day is the first song on the album White Lilies Island and yet again it is another song that I love. It is chilled, but perfect pop. The lyrics are sung very quickly and at times it almost sounds like a chant. The song is bitter sweet. It is about things going wrong, but accepting it. For example "That day, That day, What a mess, what a marvel, We're all the same, But no one thinks so, And it's okay, And I'm small and I'm divine, And it's beautiful". This appeals to me because when things go wrong I often find it comforting to just think we and whatever incident are so small and inconsequential in the scheme of the universe, so it doesn't matter, and life is still beautiful - which is the same message that I think is supposed to come across in this song.
Big Mistake is the first song on the album which I don't really love. I do like it, but it's not a favourite of mine. That is not bad going for the ninth song on the CD! It is from Left of the Middle and is an angrier sounding, quite rocky song. I think some of the lyrics are a little bit cheesy such as "I could sting like a bee, think about how you treated me" but Natalie's voice is good and the chorus is quite powerful. It's not a song I need to skip, but I wouldn't usually seek this out over the other songs on Glorious.
Beauty on the Fire is from White Lilies Island. It is a somewhat laid back, soft, sweeping soft with a quiet charm to it. The song lyrics are a bit abstract and could be interpreted in various ways, but Natalie Imbruglia has said it is "about wanting what you can't have and attracting people or things that are bad for you".
Be With You (and all the songs after this) is a new one. I really like this. I suppose it not the most distinctive and easily blends in with some of her other hits, as it is yet another upbeat, poppy, catchy song which is very pleasant and enjoyable to listen to but maybe not the most memorable. I do find it grew on me more and more with repeated listens though and makes me want to sing along. It is a simple love song and the lyrics don't require too much thought or interpretation, such as "I just wanna be with you, I just want you by my side".
Amelia is low key and not instantly the most grabbing song but it is a grower and quite pleasant to listen to, though it is a little bit repetitive.
Against The Wall, like Be With You, is a pleasant, quite catchy, guitar pop song but not too distinctive and also blends in a bit. I like it but there is not a huge amount to say about it.
Stuck On The Moon is somewhat different in style as it is less guitar based and has more of a prominent percussion beat and piano accompaniment. I prefer her more typical guitar based songs to this one, but I think it's good that she included this for a bit of variety and I do like it. The lyrics are nice, like "there's a million ways to feel beautiful".
=== Overall ===
I think this is a really strong CD which I enjoy from start to finish and I can play it back to back a couple of times without getting sick of it. I'm not sure why I don't think to play it more often - maybe because some of the songs feel quite suited to sunshine and summer to me, I don't get prompted into playing it most of the time when the weather is a bit grey!
Most people will at least know the song Torn if not all the other singles so should already have a rough idea of whether they like Natalie Imbruglia's voice and general style. I would definitely recommend this CD to anyone who likes Torn or any of her other singles, as the standard remains high throughout Glorious. I would recommend it to fans of singers like Michelle Branch, Alanis Morrisette, Sheryl Crow, Heather Nova...
In 2007, Natalie Imbruglia released her greatest hits collection, Glorious, spanning the decade from 1997 when her first single Torn was released. Like most such collections, it includes older hits and a few new songs.
The album opens with the title track, Glorious. It's a catchy pop song, a great start to the album and perfect for a single. Summery and upbeat, it's a good addition to Natalie Imbruglia's catalogue.
From Natalie's first album, Left of the Middle, come the songs Torn, Smoke, Wishing I Was There and Big Mistake. Torn was her first big hit, an indie-pop classic, while Smoke is mysterious, yearning and atmospheric. Big Mistake is angry and loud while Wishing I Was There is lighter and more optimistic, looking forward to her later material.
Her second album, White Lilies Island, contributes three songs: Wrong Impression, That Day and Beauty on the Fire. The former is light and relaxed while That Day is Alanis-Morrissette-like in its anger. Beauty on the Fire is a pretty, dreamy pop song.
Natalie's third album Counting Down the Days only contributes two songs, the title track and Shiver. These are both good, upbeat, light poppy tracks.
The final four tracks on the album are all new songs. Be With You is a good pop song with a slightly dance-based, electronic beat. Amelia is a slower, gentler, spaced-out song. Against the Wall and Stuck on the Moon are nice pop songs, particularly the latter which is specially catchy.
2. Counting Down the Days
4. Wrong Impression
7. Wishing I Was There
8. That Day
9. Big Mistake
10. Beauty on the Fire
11. Be With You
13. Against the Wall
14. Stuck on the Moon
Overall this is a good album that I recommend to anyone with an interest in Natalie's music. All her hits are here, for those who don't own any of her other CDs, but the five new songs make the album worth purchasing even if you do, and it's under £5 on Amazon so a great bargain. Highly recommended by me.
Tracklisting: 1. Glorious (Inedito) 2. Counting Down The Days 3. Torn 4. Wrong Impression 5. Smoke 6. Shiver 7. Wishing I Was There 8. That Day 9. Big Mistake 10. Beauty On The Fire 11. Be With You (Inedito) 12. Amelia (Inedito) 13. Against The Wall (Inedito) 14. Stuck On The Moon (Inedito)