Christina Aguilera: Lotus (RCA)
After the relative failure of her last album, Bionic, to score a major hit and the tepid response to her acting debut in the box office blunder Burlesque, things could only look up for Christina Aguilera.
She was all over radio this summer with her collaboration with Maroon 5 and the smash Moves Like Jagger and Aguilera scored a hot spot as a judge on the NBC singing competition The Voice.
This really should have set Aguilera up for a huge selling comeback album but it hasn’t yet happened although this fifth studio disc Lotus has only been out for a couple of weeks.
There is no major hit here as the controversial and too-much-information single Your Body enjoyed only a minor presence on the pop charts.
The rest of Lotus has its moments but not enough of them to make this a bona fide album that will return Aguilera to the top of the pops and Lotus has stalled outside of the top ten album sales.
She was able to hook The Voice star judges Cee Lo Green to help out on the dance pop song Make The World Move and she duets with Blake Shelton the semi country power ballad Just A Fool but again these songs just are not very commanding.
Meanwhile I thought I heard a smidgen of influence of The Rolling Stones’ Heart Of Stone on her plaintive ballad Best Of Me while Aguilera proves she remains the randy lass of Your Body on the hip hop styled Around The World.
Only hard core fans will want the Deluxe Edition that features a few more tracks including a radically remixed and remodelled version of Your Body.
Not sure if the non Deluxe Edition has all the cheese cake photos of the scantily clad Aguilera in the inner booklet but she righteously shows off her extra curvy, yummy mummy bodywhich just may be the highlight of this release that exploits its stars sexuality to the max.
Terri Clark: Classic (Bare Track/EMI)
Alberta’s Terri Clark has had a very solid career in country music on both sides of the border which is a major coup for a new traditionalist singer from the great white north.
True, she may not have had the superstar career of the likes of Anne Murray or Shania Twain but Clark is solidly in the second tier of Canadian country success stories from the distaff side of our country music scene.
Her albums consistently sell well in the USA country charts and her Greatest Hits package a few years ago even sold high in the mainstream album charts.
Clark has paid her dues and has earned every right to record an album of all cover country classics and this eleven track CD will delight for both its rowdy honky tonk rockers as well as its thoughtful ballad remakes.
Clark grew up listening to her family’s country album collection so it is no wonder that there are older evergreens here such as the ramped up take of Kitty Wells’ It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels and Loretta Lynn’s like minded rocker Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind).
However, the song that seems to be getting the most attention here is a lovely country folk rendering of the classic Glen Campbell hit Gentle On My Mind while the very familiar Love Is A Rose as covered by both Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young is also very nicely realized.
But Clark seems to be happiest as a country rocker on this fine set with rousing takes of Merle Haggard’s Swinging Doors and the Delbert McClinton/Emmylou Harris gem Two More Bottles Of Wine.
The duet with Tanya Tucker on her famous Delta Dawn is a bit of a clunker with its slowed down approach while the up-tempo closer and fellow Canadian Hank Snow’s I’m Moving On done with Dean Brody, is worth the price of admission alone.
Noted other duet singers include Reba McIntyre, Jann Arden and Dierks Bentley.
A solid set of Classics.
Susan Boyle: Standing Ovation (Columbia)
I was disappointed that Susan Boyle did not score a big hit with her cover of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, the lead off song from The Gift of a couple of years ago.
I thought having a song such as this, which is a little off of the beaten track of the type of standard repertoire that was destined for Boyle’s career, would have made things much more interesting.
Anyhow, this brings us to Boyle’s fourth album Standing Ovation and its all too predictable subtitle The Greatest Songs From The Stage.
Here Boyle belts out well known stage and screen songs such as Harold Arlen’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Stephen Sondheim’s Send In The Clowns and ABBA’s The Winner Takes It All (via Mama Mia).
Boyle also covers three of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s well known songs including The Music of The Night with the actual Phantom stage performer Michael Crawford himself while Boyle shares a couple of duets with her childhood idol Donnie Osmond on This Is The Moment and All I Ask Of You.
Susan Boyle fans will almost certainly enjoy these nuggets but don’t you agree it would have been fascinating to hear Boyle and Reed duetting on his Perfect Day?