Talk about life imitating art, Leona’s in a whole lot of trouble. After her triumphant debut with “Spirit” that sold millions of copies on both sides of the Atlantic, follow-up “Echo” didn’t hit such a high watermark. Third album “Glassheart” has suffered a few false starts too, with last year’s comeback “Collide” evidently not living up to expectations, and subsequently delayed the album project until now. Johnny Cash cover “Hurt” snatched a very brief top 10 hit after a spot on the X-Factor final, but then it went quiet.
It seems that a re-think was in order, and wisely the label have gone for an all-out offensive by getting miserable face of 2012 Emeli Sande to write “Trouble”. I love it, but worryingly that doesn’t seem to have been the tonic her career was looking for, with “Glassheart” sliding worryingly down the chart before the Christmas rush. They need to get her on X-Factor again, STAT!
“Trouble” is a spooky and unusual beat-driven ballad, using the best of Leona’s beautiful voice. Leona’s singing to her current love, whose life she seems to be doomed to ruin. She’s not trying to do it, and she’s warned him, but she admits that she’s twisting him into an angry chain-smoking husk of a human as they nosedive together. Get out while you can, that’s the message. How romantic
In a strange way it might be the production more than the lyrics that signal it as an Emeli-penned track. It’s got a chilling melody to it, and an insistent chorus that takes a little while to stick. But Leona’s vocals are as gorgeous as ever, effortlessly hitting some gloriously high notes with some power. Sande’s lyrics do well too, painting this bleak but vivid scene of a relationship spiralling down into oblivion.
I’ve always got time for Leona, and I’ll review “Glassheart” in the near future. I just hope she’s still got an album campaign by then.