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Maria Lawson Maria Lawson Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

Although Lawson must be given credit for co-writing a number of songs, the album...

Tom Young 2007

Remember Maria Lawson? Probably not. After falling well short in the second series of X Factor, Lawson has been steadily plotting her entrance into the limelight and working on an album that would come back to haunt Louis Walsh, the judge who sealed her fate.

Maria spent a lengthy period of time weighing up her debut album and it shows. Rather than spring blindly and instantly from the platform provided by the 2005 talent contest, Lawson headed to LA to glean influences and hooks from a number of producers in an attempt to give her undoubtedly rich soulful voice the album it deserves.

The result is a polished and credible first attempt, but one unlikely to figure in 2006 X Factor champion Leona Lewis’ list of influences. Without doubt, the smooth listening effort will draw comparisons with Gabrielle and Beverley Knight, but that isn’t exactly the fail safe stamp of approval at a time when Beyonce Knowles and Gwen Stefani are the leading female yardsticks.

Although Lawson must be given credit for co-writing a number of songs, the album struggles for any real breadth. Beyond talking about love, men and being in love… with men, there is little to set it apart from the rest, and if you were to judge the album purely on the song titles alone (highlights include “Old School Lovin’”, “Woman’s Intuition” and “Naked With You”) – it’s unlikely it would ever make it off the shop shelf.

Debut single "Sleepwalking", which makes good use of a sample from the Chi-Lites’ “Have You Seen Her,” is a grower but a slow start to an album that struggles to shift through the gears from there onwards, despite “The Poet” and “Let It Break” both threatening to up the tempo. Other songs to tickle the fancy include ballad “Overrated” and the acoustic guitar driven “Black Mona Lisa” which has a catchiness to make some of her weaker efforts turn green with envy.

A first effort to be admired from some angles, but, like Maria herself, instantly forgettable.

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