Best known for the big single Torn (let’s get this out of the way early), Natalie Imbruglia is back with a new album Come To Life. The lead single promoting the album is the Chris Martin collaboration Want. He co-wrote the song and provides keyboards and backing vocals but you wouldn’t know from hearing it.
One of the great things about Imbruglia was that at heart she was never drawn into the mainstream dance-pop scene. Both Left Of The Middle and the wonderful follow-up White Lilies Island are honest and heartfelt, down-to-earth song writing and open performance on every song. This is such a massive change in direction. Imbruglia was the antithesis of Australian compatriot Kylie, a more refined Avril Lavigne making indie pop tunes, wearing baggy clothes and never submitting to the enforced stereotypes. Now she is taking the easy option and copying Kylie’s sound. Vocally, there is so many layers of production that it’s hard to connect the Imbruglia of now with the burgeoning singer of the past. The L'Oréal deal and attempts to be a film star finished that. And it’s not even comparable with Chris Cornell’s fantastic teaming up with Timbaland as here there is a complete loss of identity, soul and ideas.
As a song, Want is just a dance chorus and a pounding drum beat. It does nothing lyrically and Imbruglia sounds flat and listless. At the two minute point it does try something new but quickly returns to the repetition. The outro just runs out of ideas completely. It is such a shame that a promising musician has been distracted by outside influences only to come back with something so flimsy and vacuous. Natalie Imbruglia needs to ditch the people around her, take a guitar and a piano, lock herself in a log cabin for a year, write some decent songs and achieve the potential that we all know she can.
-- CS (for Altsounds)