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Leona Lewis - Spirit: Deluxe Edition

Leona Lewis - Spirit: The Deluxe Edition

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FORMER X Factor sensation Leona Lewis is the latest artist to release a Deluxe Edition of her album – in this case, her phenomenally successful debut, Spirit.

This time, the added incentive is three new tracks – including the hit single Forgive Me – as well as a bonus DVD comprised of six music videos. The big question: is it worth it? Given these times of credit crunch and instantly available downloads, I’d say no. Save your money.

That’s not to say it isn’t musically without merit. But chances are, most people have already bought it if they were inclined to in the first place. And why encourage the Deluxe Edition culture? Why not withhold payment and encourage artists to actually put out EPs or even, dare we say, NEW albums rather than resting on their laurels and boosting record company coffers!

All this ranting isn’t strictly fair. Lewis is merely the latest to indulge in the Deluxe culture. But maybe because she’s part of the Simon Cowell ‘new music revolution’ she’s got both barrels.

Musically, in fact, she’s a strong singer. For sure, there are times when her vocal histrionics make her sound as though she’s aspiring to be the British Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey. Which means that if some of the vocal highs of Ms Carey grate, then Ms Lewis’ will too.

But when she sets her mind to it, she’s capable of delivering both strong pop songs, and really strong, emotionally-laden ballads. The best example of how powerful her vocals can be is her stirring cover of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, originally by Robert Flack (and used by Clint Eastwood on the soundtrack to Play Misty For Me).

While an example of her savvy pop ability is in the massive hit, Bleeding Love. But there are tepid, awful, nail-bitingly bad songs, such as her breakthrough smash and X-Factor hit A Moment Like This.

Of the new songs, Forgive Me is, um, upbeat and lively (albeit with one too many vocal flourishes), and possibly even evidence of Leona’s new direction as she approaches her sophomore album.

Misses Glasses, meanwhile, is a competent enough R’n‘B booty-strutter, while the piano-soaked Run again underlines her deeper, more meaningful side – although Snow Patrol fans may well be lamenting her decision to tackle such a track. I must admit, it took me by surprise… but early on it’s suitably atmospheric, or at least until she reaches the chorus when the optimism in her voice ruins it completely.

So to come back to my initial question. Is Spirit worth owning in Deluxe form. It’s still a firm no… although as a performer, Lewis should be an interesting person to watch develop.

Download picks: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Forgive Me, Bleeding Love

Track listing:
Disc: 1

  1. Bleeding Love
  2. Whatever It Takes
  3. Homeless
  4. Better In Time
  5. Yesterday
  6. Take A Bow
  7. I Will Be
  8. Angel
  9. Here I Am
  10. I’m You
  11. The Best You Never Had
  12. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  13. Footprints In The Sand
  14. A Moment Like This
  15. Forgive Me
  16. Misses Glass
  17. Run

Disc: 2

  1. Bleeding Love – UK Version
  2. Bleeding Love – US Version
  3. Better In Time
  4. Footprints In The Sand
  5. Forgive Me
  6. A Moment Like This
  7. Forgive Me – Making The Video