Release Date: Dec 7, 2010
Record label: Epic
While fellow pop stars like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha squabble over who's the boldest freak, Natasha Bedingfield has found a niche repping for the wide-eyed average gal. "Strip Me" is a deceptively saucy name for the lighter-waver that launches the U.K. diva's third disc – like her smash "Unwritten," it's a bouncy female-empowerment anthem. When Bedingfield strays from her airy Kelly Clarkson vibe, she can be gorgeously soulful ("Run-Run-Run"), but she has the most fun rocking out to "All I Need," a synth-heavy dance track that recalls Rihanna's "Shut Up and Drive." Keep up with rock's hottest photos in Random Notes.
Six years have passed since Natasha Bedingfield's 2004 debut Unwritten, yet the modern-day British diva hasn’t moved too far past its steely sleek sound, retaining its same blend of well-manicured R&B and European sophistication for her third album, Strip Me. Being a pop singer, she’s keenly aware that it’s 2010 not 2004, so she’s hired Ryan Tedder to construct his patented chilly, Wall of Sound on the title track and spends time with Sia, and she’s also proud of her status as a star, bragging that it’s her face on the VIP badge, but Strip Me sure doesn’t find Bedingfield embracing the freedom that comes with that celebrity. Strip Me is neither as sexy nor as vulnerable as its title suggests.
This English singer?s chirpy ”Unwritten” never suited the airbrushed cynicism of The Hills, for which it served as the theme song until the reality series? finale earlier this year. Minus that moral counterweight, though, Natasha Bedingfield?s relentlessly earnest up-with-people pop can really grate: Strip Me, her third studio disc, plays like one long, increasingly desperate pep talk. The only breather? ”Unexpected Hero,” a lovely late-Beatles-style ballad.
Strip Me, the sort-of provocative title for Natasha Bedingfield third U.S. release, suggests that the singer might have incorporated the tawdry style of Katy Perry and Ke$ha into her brand of sunny pop, but the album is yet another iteration of TashBed’s increasingly grating up-with-people shtick. Not that pop needs another starlet trying to out-whore her contemporaries, but Strip Me is so single-minded in its uplifting, inspirational tone that it raises questions as to whether or not Bedingfield can really do anything else.