[19 November 2006]
Natalie caused a minor stir on the pop scene in 2005 when her first single, “Goin’ Crazy”, hit the #13 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart, while her self-titled debut peaked at 16 on the Billboard 200. One year later, her sophomore album comes slumping out. Oh, it’s not bad; nor is Everything New much to get excited about. Natalie is a little more blonde, but, otherwise, little had changed. Lead single “What You Gonna Do?” kicks off with an appropriately tame rap from Bun B. A would-be smoldering ballad, it just doesn’t have the draw of the breezy “Goin’ Crazy”. I get the feeling the album’s producers knew they didn’t have another big hit on their hands, too, because they tagged “Goin’ Crazy” onto the end of Everything New as a bonus track. Still, the new record has its good points. The bouncy dance-pop track “My Candy” is silly, sexy, and quite catchy. Natalie has a versatile voice that’s sweet on the ballads and sassy on the up-tempo cuts. And, given the genre, it’s impressive that she at least co-writes her material. Then again, this writing rests too often on cliché, with rhymes that match “he hit me with a potion” and “his love is a commotion”. What, no “locomotion”? The music, too, is the standard R&B-influenced, Top 40-aiming pop. I happen to have a soft spot for this style, though, so that’s fine with me. For 54 minutes, Natalie’s Everything New will satisfy your sweet tooth. But then you’ll most likely have had your fill. As you exit the listening experience, please remember to dispose of your pop music in the specified waste receptacles. Thank you.