I have a secret.
I am a HUGE fan of swinging full blown 60’s style pop music. Think Burt Bacharach or Dozier/Holland/Dozier from Motown. The music is lush with the standard pop sound layered with strings and horns. You had artists like LuLu, Dionne Warwick, Petula Clark, The Supremes etc…
You really don’t find that much new music in that vain so when I do find those rare albums I am in heaven (if I believed in one). My favorites include Basia and Swing Out Sister but they haven’t had a new album in years.
This past week I found one. And the artist who put out a full album of great tunes will surprise you.
“Free Me” is the album and the artist is Emma Bunton from the UK. In case your cultural history is too short, she is the former “Baby Spice” from the all girl Spice Girls group.
I was browsing the music videos on iTunes and saw a video for the song “Free Me”. The album was released in the states in January.
Free Me just blew me away. I downloaded the album and I would have spent twice what I paid. I also loved “Maybe” and “I’ll be there”. I also chuckled at the campy “Crickets Sing for Anamaria” which comes across in the style of “Girl from Ipanema”
Here is a clip from a review at AllMusic Guide:
Taking a cue from the stylish update on swinging ’60s London that Saint Etienne pioneered in the ’90s, Free Me is a breezy, effervescent set of light pop. Hints of Bacharach and bossa nova are scattered throughout the album, strings sweep songs into their choruses, beats are strong but take a backseat to melody. This music is stylish without being flashy, thanks in large part to the charmingly tuneful, sturdy songs (all but one bearing a writing credit from Emma). While Bunton may still have a small, sweet voice, she’s developed a stronger presence on record, giving this album not just a face, but a fetching persona that’s hard to resist. Unlike the Spice Girls albums, or most other dance-oriented pop albums, this is not a singles-and-filler record — it’s a collection of strong, effervescent tunes that are immediately winning and get better with repeated listens. If Bunton weren’t a former Spice Girl, Free Me would still be a terrific album, but given her past and how she was pretty much considered a has-been, the strength of this record is all the more remarkable.
Oh, and she is not bad to look at either…..