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Amy MacDonald – A Curious Thing
March 8, 2010

Amy Macdonald burst on the scene pretty clearly with her previous album. Several hit singles and good media coverage propelled her to become a star all over the world. But with this next release she will have to confirm her status. “A Curious Thing” however, doesn’t really confirm that for me. It’s a little more articulate than her previous album, but in essence it’s still a very safe and mainstream approach. The only thing that really stands out is Macdonald’s vocals. The gravely, mature vocals give the songs more character and I would argue it actually makes the songs better.

You can’t say there’s anything wrong with Macdonald’s music or with her album. But that’s just it. It doesn’t stand out. Where similar artists like KT Tunstall or Paolo Nutini do something exciting, take the music in a different direction and don’t necessarily care about cut-for-consumption mainstream indie/pop/folk/rock (it all mashes together these past few years, but in the end it’s basically just radio pop), Macdonald does the same thing she did on her breakthrough release. It’s done well, tastefully even, but in my opinion it doesn’t stand out.

Songs like An Ordinary Life, Troubled Soul and the highlight of the album What Happiness Means To Me (which includes a pretty impressive Springsteen cover as bonus track) show that there is definitely talent present. I would hope that on a future release Macdonald can let go of the constraints that mainstream radio music brings with it and tries to venture into more exciting directions, or at least incorporates them in her music. Less format, more emotion, that would be my advice.

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