Alright kids, for today’s fun activity we’re gonna try and locate Melanie Sea on the Spice World atlas. [Editor’s note: that wasn’t even remotely funny. Can we just get on with it?]
Melanie C – the titan she-warrior of successful post-Spice careers – is back with her fifth solo album The Sea. I was ready to jump the mark and call this out to be one of her strongest record to date but despite being touted as her most varied album in years, some of the material here seem rather hit and miss.
Sonically, The Sea has come together as a compilation that plays to Melanie’s strengths and everything we’ve liked from her solo discography. There’s meant to be a winning combination of ballads, modern dance/pop and her signature spunky rock sound – a deliberate throwback to her Northern Star debut which spawned mega hits like ‘I Turn To You’ and ‘Never Be The Same Again’.
“I’m very excited about the record because, it’s quite diverse in styles. There’s still very much a pop element, and I’ve got some lovely ballads, some rock inspired tracks, some more dancey stuff, some acoustic stuff, and production wise there are some very atmospheric moments. So I really think it’s going to be a diverse and stronger album. It’s funny because I suppose my first studio album Northern Star is probably the most similar to this record in that it does have loads of different styles although it is fundamentally a pop record…” Very well then.
The variety she is speaking of must’ve been done on a much subtler scale. I mean, the risk with pulling off a record with such a diverse soundscape is that sometimes it can lack cohesion, but from what I’ve heard on The Sea and being a long-time Melanie C fan, this makes sense. The different styles played back to back kind of serves as a triumphant display of all the light and shade showcased in Melanie’s previous albums but in terms of quality tracks, I have yet to see the bulk of it stand out.
For the new album, Melanie has teamed up with her usual collaborators Adam Argyle and Peter John-Vettesebut also pulled some new faces into the fold like James Walsh (of Starsailor), Cutfather (the producers behind Kylie‘s ‘Get Outta My Way’) and Martin Brammer (who has written material for Beverley Knight).
The Sea has so far given us a taste of two singles ‘Rock Me’ – the first European single – and the absolutely fantastic dance/pop corker ‘Think About It’, which will be release the same day as the album. I was hooked on ‘Think About It’ but it wasn’t until I checked out these album track previews that I realised that The Sea is not as uptempo as I had imagined it to be. The b-sides ‘Stop The Train’ and ‘Cruel Intentions’ would’ve made for a more interesting addition to the tracklisting than some of these but perhaps, it’s one of those records that needs to grow on you a little.
Check out the previews here with me:
‘Stupid Game’ – this one’s taking me back to some Rachel Stevens Come And Get It hypnotic pop brilliance. By far, the most important album track on The Sea:
‘All About You’ – a feisty pop/rock ballad that rekindles the angst of her Beautiful Intentions era:
‘Burn’ – an earnest ballad that would sound sensational when stripped back acoustically.
‘Get Out of Here’ – a smoky and very British soul moment.
‘Drown’ – another big ballad but you’ll be too fixated on Melanie slipping out of her wellies and into sexy heels to notice.
‘Beautiful Mind’ – oh great, another atmospheric and string-soaked ballad.
‘One by One’ – this one’s got potential single etched all over. Rather lovely and wistful.
‘Enemy’ – big stormy ballad ahoy.
So what do you think? Is The Sea your cup of tea?
Melanie C will release The Sea digitally on iTunes everywhere on 4 September. As it was with her last album, I don’t anticipate that there will be an Australian physical release happening.