Release Date: Oct 15, 2012
Record label: Syco Music
Genre(s): Pop, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Pop Idol, Contemporary R&B
An international superstar right out of the gate in 2007, Leona Lewis didn't fare quite so well with her second album, Echo, in 2009. It did indeed sound like a faded echo of Spirit, containing much of the same glassy soul and balladry as Lewis' 2007 album, but lacking a single as galvanizing as "Bleeding Love." Echo's underperformance meant there was a lot riding on her third album, Glassheart, and it took a while for the singer to finish the record, with the album experiencing almost a year's worth of delays before finally appearing in Europe in the autumn of 2012. Glassheart certainly intends to take risks Lewis studiously avoided on Echo.
"Can you turn the music up a little bit, please?" Leona Lewis coyly asks producer Darkchild at the start of track seven, Shake You Up. You find yourself agreeing, because for once Lewis has made an album that's worth turning up – in parts, at least. It's never been in her remit to be interesting – she's a safe pair of hands at representing Britain abroad, but never produces anything unexpected.
Even though it's six years, three Grammy nominations and more than 20m global album sales since Lewis won The X Factor, she's yet to shake "the personality problem" – in other words, she remains the sweet if slightly gormless north London girl eclipsed by her own enormous voice. You'd think her team would heed Adele's success and stick with big-lunged, full-hearted ballads such as Fireflies and Lovebird, on which she's as technically irreproachable as Whitney or Mariah. Instead, they've pushed unconvincing edginess with clubbier sounds, including the title track, an overloaded mess of dubstep breaks and house beats.
Leona’s latest largely plays up to expectations. Fraser McAlpine 2012 Here’s a game: try and imagine what this Leona Lewis album sounds like, based on your knowledge of her previous work. Finished? Congratulations! You’re absolutely right. After an uncomfortable excursion into happier dance music with Collide – her notably absent single from 2011– Leona is here to restate her core principles.