Once every twenty years or so

I don't usually review albums that have a chance to go large. Mostly because no one sends me those albums, of course, but every once in a while someone slips up. And I usually get it wrong anyway. So I might be wrong about this as well.


Natasha Barnes

Natasha Barnes is a massive star in London's West End (the British Broadway, though I should note that some folks over there refer to Broadway as the Yank West End), and this is a sumptuously-produced album that combines well-constructed songs and Barnes's almost effortlessly evocative voice.

She's got one of those voices that is a simple joy. Her range is good, but not spectacular. She has character, but I wouldn't say she is particularly distinctive. That said, these songs sound like an easy conversation over coffee. For a such a big production, this album is utterly approachable.

Perhaps the easiest comparison is Dusty Springfield, though Springfield's voice had a lower end that Barnes can't approach (yet). But the classic pop stylings (with more than a hint of R&B) certainly bring Dusty to mind. And while I don't hear any iconic songs on this set, there are a lot of really good ones. Given Barnes's stature in musical theatre, this won't be a one-off. If this one doesn't strike gold over here, maybe the next one will. She's got the time and the talent. I'm happy to make a bet on her.

Jon Worley

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