The Record Music Magazine
Reviews
NATASHA BEDINGFIELD Ė N.B. - SONY/BMG
Record Rating: ****

NATASHA BEDINGFIELD – N.B. Itís hard to top a debut album like Unwritten. After exploding at #1 in the UK, Natasha ~ sister of popstar Daniel Bedingfield ~ surpassed her brotherís success as she topped the US charts and became the spearhead of a new Britpop invasion. Title track Unwritten proved to be the most played single on US radio and even earned the 20-something a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at this yearís award ceremony.

Like her debut, new effort N.B. is a quality pop album and is strikingly ambitious. Having steered clear of bubblegum pop and the obvious path her roots would suggest, Bedingfield has always stood out as a lady who doesnít want to be like the rest. Reflections on personal discovery, commitment, love and self-desire permeate the 13 songs here; and whether you like it or not, you wonít be able to get some of these tunes out of your head.

Obvious comparisons of her sound are, on the face of it, respectable: first single I Wanna Have Your Babies is decidedly Black Nation Janet Jacksonesque; Who Knows is reminiscent of Black Eyed Pea, Fergie; and ballads Soulmate (her new single) and Still Here take her almost to Sheryl Crow territory of sullen, swooning vocals building into climactic choruses.

Her strength, however, is her ability to give up the funk with a brassiness thatís seldom overdone, and on the CDís best track Say it Again ~ a duet with Maroon 5ís Adam Levine, who also gets credit for co-writing the song ~ she plays to that strength with a confidence thatís nothing short of beguiling. As a bonus track, breakthrough hit Unwritten is included as well on N.B., enough to make this disc a spinner of sugary pop confections.

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