April 17, 2008

Test Spin: Leona Lewis

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If Whitney Houston, Céline Dion and Mariah Carey had a love child, it would be Leona Lewis. This comparison isn’t a new one, but her debut album, Spirit, verifies the pop lineage with powerful ballads and vocals.
Unfortunately, it seems that Leona has fallen victim to the same narrow vision of her label that most rising pop stars face. Although most of the songs showcase her vocal range and talent beautifully, the tracks are, for the most part, indistinguishable. This is probably indicative of Arista Record’s desire to market her specifically as a “ballad-ess,” if you will.
Leona assisted in writing only two of the songs: “Here I Am,” which is eerily reminiscent of Mariah Carey’s “Whenever You Call,” and “Whatever It Takes,” one of the better cuts on the record. Some of the upbeat tracks are significantly more interesting, such as “You Bring Me Down,” which she executes powerfully, giving off a Joss Stone vibe that I hope to hear more of in the future. While Leona clearly has the raw talent to make it far, it seems that she has yet to develop her own distinguishing fingerprint as an artist.