turn it up
Close but no rosette for the new British diva on the block
Rating: 6 / 10
Ed Power, 25 Sep 2009
And so it continues. With Duffy off trying to figure out another angle on her Dusty-does-Motown routine and Amy Winehouse... well, Christ knows what she’s at, the record industry, all liver-spotted and wheezing after five years of plunging sales, needs another big-eyed chanteuse with a voice like a fallen angel – and it needs one in a damn hurry. Step forward 18-year-old Pixie Lott, a coquettish London blonde who despite her funny name (doesn’t it sound like an anagram for something rude?) and penchant for being snapped tumbling out of the nightclubs by the British media is blessed with a proper diva voice – and the songwriterly chops to match.
She makes that perfectly clear on the opener ‘Mama (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)’, a sinfully louche tale of good girl gone bad which, with its swanky strings and darkly glittering airs, puts you in mind of Ms Winehouse trapped inside a John Barry Bond theme. Later, she comes over all Dizzy Rascal (steady chaps) with the sassed-up urban funk of ‘Boys and Girls’, whilst ‘The Way The World Works’ has the ebb and fatalistic sweep of a long-lost ‘60s power ballad. Alas, Ms Lott is also encumbered with a fatal weakness for hair-dryer torch songs, such as the almost creepily gushing ‘Nothing Compares’ and the hopelessly sappy ‘Holding Me In You Arms’ (have some respect girl).
She unquestionably has the lungs for Maria-Carey goes-Land-dahn over-emoting, yet this kind of roof-raising stuff serves only to make her sound like just another stand-issue warbler. Even worse is the lamentable ‘Jack’, four minutes of stifling goo resembling something scraped from the bottom of Whitney Houston’s heels. What a shame. More of the gleaming, Britney-fied pop and Turn It Up might have justified all the hype. As things stand, Pixie is a little bit too away with the power-ballad fairies and it’s hard to think of this as anything other than a squandered opportunity. Someone really, really should put her in touch with Xenomania before it’s too late.