tue 02/06/2020

CD: Alexandra Burke - The Truth Is | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Alexandra Burke - The Truth Is

CD: Alexandra Burke - The Truth Is

Predictable power ballad pop from a former X-Factor star

What's the truth that Alexandra Burke is telling?

Full disclosure: I have never quite gotten over Alexandra Burke's rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I'm not sure I ever will.

And now I'm unsure as how to cope with the fresh outrage of realisation that it is now 10 years since that flagrant disregard of a soul-crushing classic, when clearly I haven't aged at all.

Full disclosure: I have never quite gotten over Alexandra Burke's rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I'm not sure I ever will.

And now I'm unsure as how to cope with the fresh outrage of realisation that it is now 10 years since that flagrant disregard of a soul-crushing classic, when clearly I haven't aged at all.

A decade on, the X Factor winner celebrates by signing with Decca Records, capitalising on her recent stint on Strictly Come Dancing, and releasing an album of epic power ballad proportions.

It's a strange mix of 90s femme-pop that I am accidentally crushing on and cheesy musical-flavoured numbers. I'm not sure exaclty what she's trying to do or who she's trying to be, or exactly what the truth is that the title alludes to. The level of production overrules any notion that this might be a personal release inspired by life events that could resonate with a specific audience.

The opener "All The Things We Are" takes me back to a heady time of All Saints' Pure Shores, and the nineties nostalgia continues with "The Truth" and "Believe" which are remniscent of Toni Braxton vocals and Gabrielle inflections - powerful melodies, wistful lyrics and an undeniably powerful, resonant voice. A duet with Ronan Keating, "Say We'll Meet Again" harks back to a similar era, albeit with musical theatre undertones, going all out with some booming, chakra-tingling harmonies about "where the ocean meets the stars". 

All in all I found myself coping pretty well with an uplifting "Summer" track and the bouncy enthusiasm of "Maybe It's Love" and "Worth Holding Onto" until "All I Need" came into play - a remake of Moon Safari's Ibiza-drenched downtempo chillfest which bought back the despair of Burke's previous cover. It's almost identical to the original. If I was Louis Walsh I would emphatically not say "you really made that your own". I would call out what what the actual truth of The Truth Is - that this is music to not listen to. It's best enjoyed in the background at a low volume.

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