* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought this album years ago after seeing it on sale for a cheap price in HMV.
The album contains the lead single Crazy Chick which is a fast paced pop song with a subtle hint of attitude. We all know that Charlotte can sing so I don't need to comment on how good her vocals are as they are consistent throughout the duration of the album. Crazy Chick is a belter of a track and the chorus is extremely catchy. I also love the upbeat pop track called Call My Name which is similar to Crazy Chick. I love the way she sings this song and she packs in the attitude once again. Charlotte really knows how to express herself through music and this really shows throughout the album. The upbeat pop tracks are fab and they really get you singing along.
I also love the ballads. The ballads on here are quite slow paced and emotional. Even God Can't Change The Past is an example of this. I used to listen to this song on constant repeat when I was younger. I could just relate to the song in every way. It's very slow but Charlotte's vocals on this song are breathtaking and she hits each and every note perfectly. It reminds me of Christmas too as it was released around that time of the year. It does actually have a festive feel about it. I don't believe in God but I like the song, and no one can change the past so it's kinda true to life. Confessional Song is also a great ballad and again, it's true to life.
The ballads are great, the vocals are great, the upbeat tracks are great. This is actually a really good album and it surprised me, in a good way of course.
Charlotte Church first came to the public's attention in the mid-nineties when she appeared on Johnathan Ross' show giving a blinding rendition of 'Pieu Jesu'.
What's so good about that you may ask? She was only 12 years old at the time...
Lending her talents to opera throughout her teenage years, she began to become more rebellious and famous as she grew and eventually decided to take her music in a completly new direction and record a pop album.
What followed was a perfect pop record with a handful of tracks that have her name all over them. It's about a young woman taking control of her own identity and becoming confident and comfortable in who she is.
Whilst I had never paid much attention to Charlotte before I was instantly intrigued by her pop album being a much bigger fan of that genre than opera and Charlotte herself was becoming moe and more like a bonafied popstar everyday with the ever increasing newspaper headlines dedicated to her celebrity boyfriends and drunken antics.
The album itself is definately Charlotte Church. Stripping away all opinions that she would just fall into the pop-puppet, repeptitive market this album is crafted to give an unique, interpretation of her life with soaring ballad 'Finding My Own Way' being just one of the tracks reflecting Charlotte's personal life.
Lead single 'Crazy Chick' has a motown influenced vibe and a catchy hook in which Charlotte gives it her all. With raunchy follow up 'Call My Name' and my favourite track the perfect slice of rebellious, bitter pop track 'Moodswings' with its jangly piano keys and rushing chorus in which Charlotte blames her crazy, outrageous behaviour on the way she has been treated and her hormones however the album only seems to disappointingly sink from that point onwards.
What follows seems to be more filler than killer with a number of dull, lifeless ballads ruining an otherwise perfect pop record. Each are pleasant enough but with the last 6 tracks being consistant slow songs it seems as if Charlotte is merely running out of steam though the dance fueled 'Let's Be Alone' is another highlight and is not a million miles away from her dance/opera crossover collabaration with Jurgen Vries 'Brave New World' it feels as if the latter half of the album is just an artist that has lost interest though 'Fool No More' with its slow, soulful beat is obviously about her turbulent past relationships and 'Confessional Song' is a good way to end the album with lyrics referencing her dog and smoking habit I can't help feeling that the record needs more upbeat, fast paced songs like those at the start of the album to really make it wonderful.
All in all Charlotte seems to have successfully stepped out of her parents shadow to create a confident, upfront pop record, tackling a variety of styles and subjects and constantly delivering an exceptional vocal even if the result is a bit limp there's some brilliant pop gems scattered throughout this CD.
Charlotte Church is a girl who seems to know her own mind - she knows what she likes and what she doesn't and she won't be forced in to a corner by anyone. So perhaps, bearing this in mind, I should have expected her to produce an album like this, full of strong and original songs that seem to have been created especially for her, with no close resemblance to the rest of those abundant female solo artists. I, however, for some reason did not have my expectations set too high when I heard that Charlotte was releasing an album.
I knew as soon as I heard that Charlotte had hired removals to chuck out her past operatic persona and transport her to the contemporary world of pop that I would be buying her album, no matter what. I made this decision based on two reasons - my personal indulgence of late teens/twenty somethings who can't quite hold their alcohol and don't quite care, myself fitting undeniably in to this category, and my love of cheesy girly pop. You only need to look at any of my reviews to know that I have a soft spot for all things pop - S Club 7, Rachel Stevens, Girls Aloud, Hilary Duff, Britney, the list goes on... so I was unfeasibly excited about this soon-to-be new arrival to my music collection.
However, I had heard many comparisons of this album to Girls Aloud and I wasn't quite sold on her first single, "Crazy Chick", so although I anticipated this release with some excitement I did expect it to be just more of the same, nothing groundbreaking, nothing to write home about.
On listening to the album I came across Charlotte's first singles, "Call My Name", a fast-paced, catchy pop anthem that supports lots of boob-jiggling, corset-wearing, people-carrying antics in the video and just asks to be sung along to at the top of your voice, and "Crazy Chick", a deffinite grower that showcases Charlotte's strong vocals.
However, when "Moodswings" started to play, I knew that this album was not what I had expected at all and deffinitely something special. No traces of Girls Aloud, Kylie or Britney were anywhere to be seen or heard - this was something different, something unique, and I've held to this view ever since.
This is an album full of girly pop, no doubt, but it's girly pop at its best. Charlotte's voice is absolutely amazing, one of the best voices that I have ever heard, and it carries off each track perfectly. One of the best things about this album, that you don't get on many pop albums, is the amount of variety in the songs.
Charlotte goes from powerful and moving ballads, "Show A Little Faith", "Finding My Own Way" and "Even God" to pure pop by way of "Moodswings" and even mixes in some opera with "Let's Be Alone", now where have you seen that on a pop album before? I even lent this album to my indie-music loving friend who was very impressed with it. Now, I'm not suggesting that the album would appeal to every taste and individual, it is largely just pop, but I am just demonstarting how this album is just that bit different to your standard girly pop.
Charlotte has helped to write many of the tracks on the album, including "Call My Name", "Finding My Own Way", "Let's Be Alone", "Easy to Forget" and "Confessional Song" and the lyrics are very autobiographical, alluding to breakups, nights out and, of course, moodswings. I think that, unlike in a lot of pop albums, the lyrics are very creative, quite moving and a lot of the time very amusing, my favourites have to be the lyrics in "Moodswings" - "Now first of all I want to let you know that I've been known for some minor mood swings now and then" and "Confessional Song" - "I'm gonna stay in tonight so I don't get hungover Get myself a takeaway and watch MTV". The lyrics are very truthful, Charlotte's voice is very powerful and the music is uplifting and moving in turn.
Some of my personal favourites on the album are "Moodswings", which is a great pop song and has now been released as a single, "Finding My Own Way", which is a lovely ballad and describes Charlotte's journey of finding her own way in life, "Let's Be Alone" which is a great, fast, uplifting pop song, "Casualty of Love", which is an unusual song and contains some honest lyrics, and my very favourite, "Confessional Song" - I find the lyrics to this so funny as they do not seem to match the beautiful music in the ballad as she is singing about smoking and watching TV but at the same time I think that the song is really beautiful and one that you can listen to over and over again.
Basically I cannot rate this album highly enough. I would recommend it without a doubt, it is deffinitely worth a listen and you won't be able to stop at just one. It is one of the best albums that I own and I think that Charlotte has done a brilliant job! So go on, see for yourself!
In the mid-nineties on Jonathan Ross talk show appeared an endearing, confident young girl who was presented to the audience as Charlotte Church. The little sweety then stood from her seat and began to sing pieu jesu. Anybody who has ever seen this footage will understand it was the beginning of something different. Out of little charlottes mouth came the most powerful, grown up and beautiful operatic vocal a child her age could manage
Around ten years later she again appeared on Rosss show. By this time the child prodigy had become an international classical star singing for the president of the united states, the pope, the queen and captured the hearts of the world over with her voice of an angel.
Having been in the public eye since she was twelve Charlotte decided to then take a step back away from fame and become a normal teenger. And as normal as a teenager she became. She got herself the ultimate accessory for a teenage girl, a bad boy boyfriend, and was pictured smoking cigarettes. The voice of angel smoking? huh? causing damage to her beloved gift that made everyones jaw drop when they saw her as a nipper on Rosss show? The press then begun their obsession with her. Not since the Spice Girls has another female celebrity been quite so saught after and plastered across every tabloid going. Charlotte was also fair game for lads mags and as soon as she turned 16 won rear of the year and shot up the list of FHMs 100 sexiest women. Sexy? Who was going to find the chain smoking, and then booze loving, ms. Church sexy?
By the time she turned 18 Charlottes constant habit of going out and getting legless with a new bad boy lover had become legendary. Never mind her career as a singer had ground to holt, she had become the tabloids favourite anyway for her wild lifestyle and the fact that if the press annoyed her she wasnt afraid to hit back. Liam Gallagher even gave her the thumbs up saying she was like him, a party animal that at least had great talent.
She split the country on whether she was or wasnt a good role model since she declared she was just a normal teenager and further broadend her popularity among the public by fiercely defending her idea that she wasnt going to be a stick thin model, and proved her point that a girl with a bit of meat on her really is sexy in the videos for her debut and second singles.
But because of her lifestyle she was then being touted as a fallen angel and was seen as another child start bound to go into the downward spiral of addictions and other problems. She fell out with her mother and was siding more with her bad boy boyfriends, none of which had good jobs or a reputation to match. However, as the Oasis frontman pointed out Charlotte does have talent. There was then a lot of fuss about Charlotte releasing a pop/rnb album and ditching her classical roots. And in 2005 everything changed
Charlotte left the no good bad boys behind and joined forces with the darling of the welsh rugby team Gavin Henderson. Unlike her previous beaus who both ended up kissing and telling he was famous like her, and was much prettier to look at. Perfect material then for raising her profile before the release of her much aniticipated debut pop album. Yet unlike that other famous pair they no doubt resemble, Charlotte was still remembered for her vocal ability and not her size 6 frame.
Her debut single crazy chick was predictable enough. A mowtown-esque brassy number with church presenting herself as a crazy chick because of a guy, needing professional help and a shrink with a phD. It was very different to what most expected and sure enough sent her to #2 in the chats. She went on various TV shows and sang live everywhere proving she wasnt just an operatic prodigy. Yet the single felt too contrived, too like it was put together by her record company picking up on the medias idea she was a crazy chick. The follow up, Call my name wasnt very different, the same souly backing singers and confident attitude, this time Charlotte upping the sex factor describing her bedroom antics with the supposed Mr. Henderson. In the video she appears as a very grown up, sexy woman, far removed from the little, innocent girl we all remember when she was a classical star. It was all just so predictable, and with the addition of zillions of gorgeous dancers as backing (two of which I went to school with, well done for making it Anthony & Sisco!), looks too staged to be taken seriously.
For the rest of the media likened titled Tissues & Issues however Charlotte decided to get a bit more involved and took on board Guy Chambers among others as a song writing partner. After parting with Robbie Williams, another huge star in the British media, Guy Chambers obviously knew Charlotte Church would be a good investment. Funnily enough the rest of the record is nothing at all like the first two singles. It can be heard that the other songs on the album were indeed what anyone would expect them to be about: her past up and downs in relationships, her relationship with the media, an apology to her mum for being a rebellious teenager and reflections on her journey from child star to publicity queen.
The third single on the CD, mood swings is more like what the Charlotte Church the public knows sounds like. Singing about the press treatment towards her, it begins by plodding along with a piano and builds to a stylish, swooping chorus resembling her mood swings of being driven to explode by the constant buzz around her from the paparazzi. One of the best tracks on the album and a potential single, Charlotte coldly but also apologetically admits they dont know what shes going through and people judging her before they get to know her. This is more like it.
Show a little faith sounds like Nadine and her backing band Girls Aloud. Of course there has been a lot of publicity recently about the argument between Charlotte and Cheryl Tweedy, one of the less capable singers of Girls Aloud, who claims Charlotte has copied their sound. Ms. Tweedy should re-think her words, for her only talent appears to be posing for lads mags or looking pretty in the Girls Aloud videos, and their sound is hardly theirs now is it? However to be fair this song does sound like Girls Aloud, starting quite gloomily turning into a likeable, solid pop song. Charlottes voice comes through clearly more pop/rock, although on the choruses she does drag on a bit.
The follow up finding my own way begins with a atmospheric piano and Charlotte singing in a more classical sounding voice than the previous song. It builds at the bridge and then cascades brilliantly into a chorus about charlotte finding her own way. Just like mood swings it sounds like Charlotte Church, the typical teenager, should be singing, a song dedicated to her mother (I think) about finding her own way and learning from her mistakes. Its a song any teenager can relate to, and thats what Charlotte Church the celebrity is all about.
Lets be alone is great, starting off with Chruch hitting a note in operatic style followed by a scurrying, pulsating electro-esque led beat. She sings in a more robotic like fashion and the song plods along nicely sounding slightly 80s influenced. A defineate standout track on the album. Easy to forget, a slowy, for some might be bland, bur for others its a must listen. Starting off with Churchs muti-layered voice wiggling she then sings with a lower, longing sound to her voice about her man being away and leaving her all alone. It has a slight lazing in the sun quality about it due to the guitar. This song, along with the next two all sound a bit samey, with Fool no more showing Church being a vocal professional and experimenting with the lower side of her voice register, and for the chorus she turns powerhouse. Easy way out is arguably the weakest track on the album. Its starts of promisingly, and the verses are actually pretty good. Charlotte is giving advice to a friend about a relationship with her boyfriend. However the chorus is on the dreary side. All in all its nice, but goes in through one ear and out the other.
After what could be considered three duff tracks and make the middle of the album a bit boring it is made up for in the last three tracks on Tissues and Issues. The dark, somewhat disturbed guitar of casualty of love begins, and as it silences Church sings in her well spoken, opera-esque voice about being only 16 and catching a taxi home after a row with her first bad boy boyfriend Steven Johnson. She sounds innocent and lost but also unmistakably bitter as she enters the chorus: Oh what I didnt know, I never loved him, sowhat was real? she sings in her soft but clear opera voice. She then goes one note higher, wiggling and holding the note, and it takes the listener right back to that first interview with Jonathan Ross. And as her voice elegantly trickles down the scale the intervention of a violin and a quick strum of the guitar signals the songs take off. It explodes into an exciting, flamenco style march of guitar strumming and Charlotte singing about running through her neighborhood away from the argument and accusing her ex of being like a medicine to cure her sickness. It then goes back to the chorus where she then accuses Johnson of being like a drug, cleverly conveyed since it was with him the Church began smoking cannabis. Funnily enough the song is made more likeable by the fact that Church sings with her opera voice, and because everyone knows about the breakdown of her first relationship the song sounds so original, so unlike any other song on the album. Although the album has been touted as her pop effort she still uses her operatic vocal ability here and there and it is only on her debut two singles that she sings with a more commercial, American accent.
The penultimate track is my personal favourite, a boy george cover where Charlotte reflects on her past and hopes for the future. It begins rather ceremoniously with violins and then backs away to leave Charlotte to sing with a piano: Even God cant change the past she sings softly. The lyrical content is something anyone who has been through a difficult part of their life can relate to, after all, the past cant be changed. The song does sound a tad cheesy, yet Church sounds convincing as the teenager whos now grown up and wants to move on.
Confessional Song is the song everyone is going to remember from this CD. Not because its the last song on the album, but because Charlotte Church is singing about staying home for the night, getting a take away and watching MTV. How much more can she sound like a normal teenager? Of course Church is very aware of what shes been portrayed as in the media and lyrics like Im gonna be hypnotised to stop myself smoking and Im gonna stay home tonight so I dont get hungover sound like they can only be coming from the Charlotte Church everyone reads about. At this point the listener realises Church isnt the reckless, hell raising teenage celebrity shes portrayed as but just a normal girl who wants to live a normal life. Shes showing everyone that shes made it through the journey of mood swings with the press, finding her own way through her fame and the difficult transition from child star to one half of the next big celebrity couple, being on the receiving end of trouble with the opposite sex in easy to forget and casualty of love but moving on by realising even god cant change the past. The album ends on more of a low note than a positive one with Church reflecting on her actions: my situations didnt leave me strong. If it all gets too dreary the listener can always replay to Call my Name
Tissue and Issues does exactly what it says on the tin. Charlotte Church, the child star come rebel teenager has made a record about her story which the press have documented every step of the way. Predictable it may be, and her first two singles may be on the PR marketed side, but it was never going to be a bad record, the music industry, the media, and most importantly Church herself wont going to allow that to happen! She now has grown into a young woman with millions in the bank (and she deserves it, she has REAL TALENT Cheryl Tweedy), a gorgeous boyfriend, and every teenager in the country thanking her for making their parents realise theres nothing wrong with getting totally smashed at the weekend, youre only young once!
Charlotte, have a cheeky vimto, you deserve it!
Im quite possibly the kind of person that Charlotte Church was aiming at when she decided to take a change of direction into pop music. I would never even have considered buying her Voice of an Angel style CDs, purely because classical and operatic style music isnt my thing. I do, however, have a liking for well crafted pop music, so Id always be likely to give her pop debut a chance, if it seemed worth it.
Church certainly seemed to have all the attributes to have a decent career in pop music. After all, she had the sports star boyfriend like Posh Spice and Cheryl from Girls Aloud. She had been pictured falling out of nightclubs like the Gallagher brothers of Oasis. And she has an ex-boyfriend selling all her secrets to the tabloids like well, just about everybody, really.
Of course, living the life of a pop star doesnt mean youll be any good at actually being one, as the winners of Fame Academy will be able to tell you. The only way to judge for sure if the transition is to be a successful one is on the music she produces.
Theres a very Girls Aloud influence to Call My Name, with the same sassy attitude as they had on their What Will the Neighbours Say? album and a heavy synth use giving the song a slight funk edge in parts, not too dissimilar to some of Rachel Stevens solo work. Its got a decent groove to it, and its a nice up-tempo pop tune to introduce the new Charlotte Church to the world.
Not being someone who keeps up with chart music all that closely, it was a while after release before I heard the first single, Crazy Chick. Indeed, the first time I heard it, on the radio of a coach, I thought it was a new Girls Aloud song. Further listens havent changed my opinion a great deal, as the vocal delivery is almost exactly the same, especially combined with the up-tempo foot tapping pop vibe. This was a great choice for the first single to be released as it has everything that has traditionally, and recently, done well in pop music.
After a little bit of sounding like pop musics most popular girl group, Church switches into sounding like a recently popular solo singer, with Moodswings (To Come At Me Like That). Its a little rougher around the edges, without the killer hook but sounds very much like Natasha Bedingfield, both musically and vocally.
Show a Little Faith is a little more laid back, having a slight r n b sound as seems to be creeping into a lot of pop music at the moment. Its not quite as obvious as with the likes of the Sugababes and falls perhaps half way between their sound and that of Atomic Kitten. After the decent up tempo tunes of the opening tracks, the laid back vibe is a bit of a let down, although theres nothing essentially wrong with this track, it just fails to grab me and get me going in the same way.
The piano intro to Finding My Own Way brings to mind Delta Goodrem and not without cause. Its a big pop ballad with all her hallmarks, although a little more overdone than Goodrems work and not sounding as though it has gone through the same soul searching during the writing process. Again, however, it feels as if theres something missing and it certainly seems, even at this early stage, as if the storming all out pop songs are going to be Churchs better ones.
The synth backing over the opening to Lets Be Alone sounds rather worryingly like the theme tune to Big Brother. Its a vibe that is to continue throughout the song, which is a techno influenced pop number with the music overshadowing the vocals in many parts. Its a very generic song that I cant help feeling Ive heard somewhere before, despite not normally listening to dance style music. It could be one that will spread Churchs appeal into the club scene, to go along with the personal appearances the tabloids tell us she keeps making to them.
Its back to the pop-r n b sound for Easy to Forget and again something strangely familiar, but instantly forgettable. Its certainly a refreshing change of pace from the awful techno of the previous track, but cant compete with either that or the earlier tracks for interest, although the Spanish guitar in the middle does catch you if you were drifting off. Generally speaking, though, this is one of the longer tracks on the album and it feels like it lasts for a lot longer than it actually does.
Theres a cool laid back r n b tinged grove to open Fool No More that makes me think of Alicia Keys version of Fallin. This is the way the song continues, being a down tempo and very laid back song, although the vocals pick up a little in the chorus. Its simply a pop ballad with a definite old style soul edge. Its nothing that really stands out, but its nicely done and possibly a choice for the next single from the album for a change of direction from the first two.
Easy Way Out returns the album to the big overblown pop ballads, although the vocals are a little buried in the mix, so you dont get the full benefit of them. Its a pretty simple song, with the piano backing sounding a little like Delta Goodrem, although the way the song picks up in the chorus makes it sound more like Amy Studt. Again, its done well enough, but theres nothing earth shattering here.
The album stays down tempo for Casualty of Love, although this time theres a guitar instead of a piano leading the musical backing. It starts as another pop ballad, although the vocals sound as if they were borrowed from Churchs operatic background. Part way through, however, it picks up and its more of a flamenco influenced song but thanks to the vocals, the whole thing sounds as if it could have been in a Rice and Lloyd Webber musical from the 1980s.
The string intro to Even God reminds me slightly on the UEFA Champions League music. However, this over, its another fairly standard mid tempo pop song. Theres a definite Amy Studt feel to the song, especially vocally, again.
The album ends on another down note, with one last ballad. Confessional Song is exactly that, with Church seemingly responding to a lot of the criticism she has faced about her lifestyle. To be honest, I preferred it when she was revelling in her reputation with a song like Crazy Chick. That at least had something going for it, whereas this is little more than a dirge.
For a first effort, this isnt all that bad and I suspect it will prove enough to give Church a start at a pop career, although shell need to improve a fair amount for that career to be a long one. The variation of influences suggests she hasnt quite worked out what style is her favourite as yet.
The number of ballads, especially towards the end of the album came as a huge disappointment. Having proved with the early tracks that she can perform some real foot tapping pop songs, she then ruins the album by not having enough of them. I made the same criticism of Amy Studts False Smiles album and this has gone down the same road. That said, there is more quality and more variation here than on that album, which should give it a wider appeal.
Whilst all the songs here are nice enough and all are performed very well, theres little that really stands out as being a classic pop song, although the first couple of singles come fairly close. Its a decent pop album, but little more than that.
Its a fairly recent album as well, which makes it quite expensive at this point, with prices around £8.99 from Amazon and Play.com and even the Amazon Marketplace asking £7.00. For 12 tracks taking up 48 minutes, only about half of which deserves repeated listening, this isnt really good value. I have seen copies on eBay from £1.00, which I suspect will occur more as the album ages and I would recommend finding a cheaper copy if you insist on getting one.
There are better pop albums around, so I wouldnt recommend it, personally. Although in Churchs defence, there are a lot worse around as well. If you must buy, buy for the novelty value, not for any musical brilliance. Dont necessarily expect to be rewarded for your money, as youll get better value and more use from a box of tissues.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Call My Name
2 Crazy Chick
4 Show A Little Faith
5 Finding My Own Way
6 Lets Be alone
7 Easy to Forget
8 Fool No More
9 Easy Way Out
10 Casualty of Love
11 Even God
12 Confessional Song