sun 23/04/2017

CD: Rebecca Ferguson - Heaven | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Rebecca Ferguson - Heaven

CD: Rebecca Ferguson - Heaven

Scouse reality star aims to quietly steal Adele's crown

Ferguson seems genuinely capable of giving Adele sleepless nights
Rebecca Ferguson: real talent

At last, seasonal talent-show spin-offs are showing signs of real talent. Hot on the heels of the appealing, if insubstantial, Olly Murs album, comes Rebecca Ferguson’s debut. And, if Murs’ release wasn’t too bad, people are saying that Ferguson’s is such a leap forward it’s bad form to mention her in the same breath as the other alumni. Part of the fuss is, no doubt, down to the fact that, finally, The X Factor seems to have uncovered someone with authentic, visceral ability. But the reaction is not just about confounded expectations. Ferguson seems genuinely capable of giving Adele sleepless nights.

Surprisingly, Heaven contains no covers. Less surprisingly, it is pure retro soul-pop. But if it looks back that hardly matters. Ferguson delivers astonishingly raw emotion for a reality star. She may not be as troubled as the late Amy Winehouse but she sounds like she’s had her fair share of blues. As she sings “no money, no house, no car” on “Nothing’s Real but Love”, you really sense drama in her voice, which rasps somewhere between Gabrielle and Macy Gray. Smoky mid-tempo melodies, like the latter and the Aloe Blacc-aping “Glitter and Gold”, are the album’s forte. It's there that you see the real craftmanship. Ferguson claims that she insisted on co-writing, and you sense her fiery personality throughout.

"Mr Bright Eyes" is foot-tappingly infectious, “Fighting Suspicions” hints at both Nina Simone and Roberta Flack, and when she sings about triumphing over romantic adversity in “Fairytale” you can just picture drunken dance floors across the country filling up. But after tear-jerker “Teach Me How to be Loved”, things start to fall apart. At 35 minutes Heaven is not a long album. At 25 minutes it would have been notably short. But it may have been a bolder and better decision to lose the last three tracks and possibly spend the money on remixing the rest, which is often treble heavy. However although Heaven may not be as consistently good as the hype suggests, where it shines, and it shines a lot, this is a record to truly delight in.

Rebecca Ferguson performs "Feeling Good" on The X Factor

Comments

Just watched her first audition and you can see how she's grown through that year, she's absolutely amazing!

Whilst there will be "competition" for sales figures, I don't think Adele and Rebecca will be spending sleepless nights worrying about each other. Both are strong young women with total confidence in their talent. Rebecca's album is scintillating, a huge statement of arrival, with 10 tracks which could all be singles. She is part of an excellent song-writing team, and will rake it in for that as well.

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