Long may it continue – even, dare we say it, in heavy rotation.
Sophie Bruce 2008-10-29
Anastacia's first studio album since 2004 sees a new woman on board. She's not poking fun at herself with the title Heavy Rotation, it's actually borrowed from a track on the album in which the phrase is a euphemism for sex. With a new husband in tow (she married her bodyguard Wayne Newton last year) has happiness brought the formula for homeland success to equal her achievements over here?
Though she's co-written 9 out of the 12 songs, Anastacia's trademark 'Sprock' (soul/pop/rock) sound has diluted a little due to a myriad of big name collaborators. That's no bad thing though. Amongst others, she's now working with Robbie Willams' ex Guy Chambers, Britney producer JR Rotem, Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins, and Ne-Yo.
The Guy Chambers songs seem to work best. In Summer is the classic laid back Robbie-style track, while All Fall Down is like an upbeat Angels. Defeated – JR Rotem's contribution - is a great track with a catchy hook you could easily imagine Britney or Justin singing. It also sees Anastacia taking a welcome foot off the vocal pedal.
Ne-Yo co-produces and sings backing vocals on his two tracks – though you can only hear him clearly on Absolutely Positively. But though his other effort, first single I Can Feel You is catchy, Same Song is the stand out hit waiting to happen. Another Guy Chambers co-pen, it features singalong anthemic lyrics laid over a twinkly yet threatening bassline.
There are some questionable choices – Chambers' fourth contribution Never Gonna Love Again is an unusual operatic style ballad that’s a bit too close to Enya for comfort. And Darkchild's trademark bassline on Heavy Rotation is a bit too hardcore for Anastacia - though the end result isn’t horrible. She shouldn’t be afraid to take risks though – an unexpected disco samba vibe on The Way I See It works well.
In summary: this is one happy Anastacia. Gone are the dark tracks of previous album Anastacia, replaced by soft ballads and upbeat disco stormers. Life on the sunny side is obviously doing her good, as is her partnership with Guy Chambers. Long may it continue – even, dare we say it, in heavy rotation.