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The debut album from Rebecca Ferguson is like nothing you'd expect from a reality-show graduate. Renowned for the lack of artistic involvement from the artist, and the desperation to make a quick buck, 'Heaven' seems to be the exception to the rule. Released in late 2011, following her stint on the previous year's X Factor, the album boasts Ferguson as the lead writer for every track and production credits from Adele collaborators Eg White and Fraser T. Smith. With Rebecca's smooth and soulful voice, and timeless production, the album is a breath of fresh-air in a dance and techno orientated time in music.
The album commences with 'Nothing's Real but Love', a simple, guitar-based track which gradually builds momentum yet never becomes overwrought or loses its understated charm. The song's message is simple, yet powerful. "No money, no house, no car, can beat love" she sings on the chorus, as she warns against the empty pursuit of fame and fortune, without anyone to share it with. Her gorgeous voice and vulnerable delivery really sell the familiar subject matter and repackage it with an endearing and fresh charm. 'Glitter and Gold' builds on the topic, but has a slightly darker sound to it. "Old friends are just a chore, but now you need them more than ever before" she sings, exploring the dark side to fame. More up-tempo, and with a bouncier production, the song adds a lot, sonically speaking, to the album, and the deeper lyrics are a welcomed continuation to the sparse words of the album opener.
'Heaven' boasts several feel-good, and uplifting neo-soul numbers that beg for repeated listens. 'Fairytale' is a wistful, romantic track with trumpets, lush strings and a set of Amy Winehouse-inspired production. "So let me just fairytale, that we are in love" she sings on the chorus, "I'd rather live life this way". The song is so upbeat, it is utterly irresistible. 'Mr Bright Eyes', similarly is a bright and summery ode to a lover who restores your hope in love. The tinkling pianos and Rebecca's vocal nuances, make this an undeniable mid-tempo. "Hey, Mr. Bright Eyes, where've you been all my life?" she asks on the chorus, allegedly written about her ex-boyfriend, Zayne Malik of One Direction fame. The album's closer, 'Too Good to Lose', a spine-tingling, euphoric disco-inspired soul song, truly demonstrates Rebecca's versatility and ability to straddle multiple genres convincingly.
The album's finest moment comes with the piano-based ballad, 'Teach Me How to Be Loved'. The gorgeous melody compliments Rebecca's voice, in a song that is lyrically rich with beautiful metaphors that really convey the emotion of the track. It deals with a woman struggling to trust again, desperately wishing to believe in love. "The fallen empires, the shattered glass, the wicked echoes of my past" she laments before the chorus hits. "Will you still be here tomorrow, or will you leave in the dead of the night?" she asks in a track that Adele would be envious of.
'Heaven' is an album that is rich in diversity. The fusion of genres, ranging from pop, folk, soul and disco is pretty difficult to do convincingly or with a degree of freshness to it. Rebecca has managed both. Her smooth voice can seemingly sing anything, and can convey the emotion of a song without ever drowning its message in vocal acrobatics. Everything about this album is understated - yet, this is where it's charm and its appeal lies. For me, it is similar to Adele's '21' sonically speaking, but with a more diverse subject matter. Without a doubt, it is one of the best albums released in the past year and is a must-have for fans of artists such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones or Duffy.
Highlights: Teach Me How to Be Loved, Glitter & Gold, Nothing's Real But Love, Fairytale, Too Good to Lose
Last year's X Factor...do you remember a young woman called Rebecca Ferguson? The one who came second? Well, here she is with her debut album 'Heaven'. The album was released in the United Kingdom in December 2011 and so is very recent. The album is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £6.49 which I think is excellent value for money especially as the album is brand new.
~ * Track Listing * ~
1) Nothing's Real But Love 2) Glitter & Gold 3) Shoulder To Shoulder
4) Fairytale (Let Me Live My Life This Way 5) Mr Bright Eyes 6) Fighting Suspicion 7) Teach Me How To Be Loved 8) Run Free 9) Diamond To Stone
10) Too Good To Lose
~ * Songs Which Stand Out For Me Include... * ~
Fairytale - A real catchy tune! It has a 60's sound to it! I can't resist singing along to this one.
Glitter & Gold - Interesting lyrics; she's keeping her feet on the ground. Another 60's style song.
Too Good To Love - Very modern and 'dancey' - could imagine this one being played in a club.
The album has a very soulful sound with a hint of pop and a hit of the 'blues'. I love how the album is very modern and completely different to everything else in the charts. The album is quite mature and whilst I think that it will mainly appeal to adults, this will also appeal to some teenagers.
Rebecca has a good voice; it's very unique, quite powerful with a slight 'husky-ness' to it. She has a very different sound compared to all the other 'singers' in the charts meaning that you can always identify her voice because it is unique.
Rebecca's style of music reminds me a lot of Amy Winehouse so I would therefore say that if you like Amy Winehouse then you will probably like Rebecca. Rebecca really connects with the listener; really putting her all into the songs, so that the emotion comes across really clearly to the listener. I do have to say that while I do like this album, a lot of the songs sound the same and so you may find yourself getting a bit bored.
This album makes great 'easy-listening'; the kind of album you could have playing when you are in the car or doing the housework.
The lyrics are very interesting and thought-provoking. I have to say that the majority of the songs are easy to connect to, lyrically!
I would definitely recommend this album! I have to say that this is an excellent debut album!
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Nothing's Real But Love
2 Glitter & Gold
3 Shoulder to Shoulder
4 Fairytale (Let Me Live My Life This Way)
5 Mr Bright Eyes
6 Fighting Suspicions
7 Teach Me How To Be Loved
8 Run Free
9 Diamond To Stone
10 Too Good To Lose