1,000 Stars: First Look.
When Natalie Bassinghthwaighte left the Rogue Traders to persue her solo career/read autocue on live television, few outside of the bands hardcore fan-base were surprised. The followers, however, were left high and dry after promises from Natalie months earlier that she would concentrate on a solo career and remain as a Rogue Trader. And even though there are a number of people still a little annoyed, still harbouring a smidge of resentment toward her and the way she departed (myself definitely included), it’s been hard to escape Bassingthwaighte-fever since the beginning of 2009. Almost 9 months after Nat’s departure announcement, Bas delivers this, her largely anticipated solo debut album effort 1,000 Stars.
It’s certainly no LoveAngelMusicBaby, and debut single “Alive” is most definitely no “What You Waiting For” (the absolute benchmark for a debut solo single for a female pop star who’s come into light through another musical project), but there’s some incredibly strong material on this album; you just have to make it through the records first five songs before you find it. Opening with the Xenomania-inspired “Catch Me If You Can”, it’s all a little too familiar and, as the four songs which follow do as well, comes across as sounding a little too safe. Second single “Someday Soon” still goes completely over my head, upcoming single “1,000 Stars” is nice enough, but really, we’re more than content with the one Delta Goodrem, Natalie. What’s worse, “Not For You” sounds like it should be sung by Katy Perry or Avril Lavigne circa-2002. Skip-skip-skip; it’s possibly the most horrific thing NatBas has put her name to.
Things (finally) pick up with “Feel The Flow”, which (tellingly, perhaps) is one of two tracks on 1,000 Stars which sound most like Nat and her former Roguey bandmates. “Could You Be Loved” is incredibly immense; think Geri Halliwell’s epic trance-romantic stomper “Love Never Loved Me” meets Giorgio Mororder – a class act, and the darkest moment on Stars.
“Supersensual” is spikey-as-hell, combining a Swedish-pop production sound together with an obvious homage to Blondie, whilst “Why Do I” takes on that all-too-familiar Timbaland sound that ran rampant throughout 2007 and 2008, yet meshes it into a slick, ballad format which works incredibly well. “Turn The Lights On” is Eurovision ready, whilst “This Can’t Be Love” is probably the best moment on here. No surprises then that this is the second one that reminds you of her former pop incarnation.
At the end of it all, this is a solid pop album. There’s some absolute rubbish on here, and three okay-to-terrible single choices, but overall, NatBas has certainly done a more than decent job of this.
Your call now, Rogue Traders. Who, may I remind you, have only ever evoked A-and-above grade reviews from me for all three of their albums.