Spirit is just the sound of a generic diva.
Lyndsey Winship 2007
When Leona Lewis slipped from the spotlight after last year's Christmas Number One, there were whispers that maybe she didn't have the x-factor after all. But in reality, Leona was one of the few people to come out of a TV talent show worth investing some time and money in. Not for her a rush-released covers album; instead it was off to the States to work with a host of big name producers like Dallas Austin and Jam and Lewis.
It's almost a shame all that effort went into crafting a bland pop album strong on mid-tempo balladry and spiralling vocal gyrations, but short on hooks, innovation and personality.
With sights firmly set on the lucrative American market, single ‘Bleeding Love’ is an 80s throwback that even Mariah wouldn't record these days. And the attempts at skittering r'n'b beats on tracks like "The Best You Never Had" and the Ne-Yo- produced "I'm You" are also fairly middle-of-the-road.
Elsewhere, "Take a Bow" is a slice of synthy melodrama, "Whatever it Takes" has singalong potential and big ballad "Footprints in the Sand" is a piano warbler that brings Leona's voice to the forefront. It's an amazing voice, no doubt, but if it wasn't for those elastic vocal cords, this could be anyone.
Only on the Leona co-written "Here I Am" do we get a glimpse of the Hackney girl herself, thrown into the pop machine: "This is a crazy world/These can be lonely days.../Who can you really trust" she asks. Otherwise, Spirit is just the sound of a generic diva.