Saturday, July 16, 2011

Leona Returns!

After quite an extensive break from the charts (since February 2010 to be specific) British pop singer and former X Factor winner Leona Lewis returns with her new single "Collide," presumably the lead single from her forthcoming third album, following the soft reception of her last album Echo, which unfortunately didn't land any #1's and only spawned a measly 2 singles ("Happy" and "I Got You" her first to miss the top 10). After the abrupt end to that era, Lewis then went on to record the soundtrack to the 2009 American science fiction film Avatar, "I See You," which foolishly was never released as a proper single.

Lewis has never really altered her sound since her debut Spirit, she's always found a home in the hybrid of soft pop/rock with urban flourishes--maybe maturing a little into more mature territories for Echo, but nothing major. However, as history has foretold, there comes a time when a female pop singer must leave their comfort zone, in search for something edgier, different, out of their personal norm etc. As Mariah did with 1997's Butterfly, indulging in heavy R&B influences. As Madonna did with 1998's Ray of Light evoking a more spiritualist side of herself. As Janet Jackson did with 1997's The Velvet Rope voyaging to darker, topical pop territories.

Now, "Collide" isn't necessarily on that level of transformation, but the point is that for Leona it's a complete 180. Trading in traditional archetypal pop/rock drums, guitars and clean layered chorus for a pulsing, synth-duped production with an underpinning persistent piano backing, however still managing to highlight her blustery vocal (apparently it steals its background music from Swedish DJ Avicii "Penguin"). Lyrically, it's nothing different to "I Got You" but it's fantastic and hopefully becomes a hit for her.

6 comments:

rcLoy said...

I like it a lot. It's very different from the usual Leona that I know. At least people won't call her boring now, right? Hahaha.

Project Mobius said...

I wouldn't call Leona's previous work "boring", but it's definitely different from the electro-pop/dance that's on the radio today. This song is, more than anything, Leona's attempt to have a mainstream sound - directly at the expense of Avicii. However, the beat was directly sampled from "Penguin", so I'm sure that Leona got some level of consent to use it we don't know about.

Also, the pop/dance mix has worked before. Deadmau5's beat was used to back Alexis Jordan's "Happiness".

Romeo said...

I'm not a big fan of it but I feel it'll grow on me! Unfortunately, I'm one of those people that find Leona to be boring and with a production like that, her voice brings it down and makes it less exciting!

ww_adh said...

Although I love "Bleeding Love" and "Happy," I think it's a good thing she's not trying to launch album #3 with another big, blustery pop ballad. This is nicely understated and a bit dance pop too. Not sure I like it yet, but I'll give it a fair shake.

f said...

OMG!OMG!OMG!I die :)

J.Mensah said...

Mixed reviews. Hmm... I bet it grows on ALL of you.