Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Alesha Dixon - The Entertainer (Atlantic)

Hats off to Alesha Dixon. Almost a solid decade in the UK music industry is quite an achievement, particularly at a time when faceless fly-by-nights rule the charts and promotional opportunities are at a worrying low. So kudos where it’s due, in that third studio album The Entertainer has even hit the shelves at all. But what of its content?

Unfortunately, as an album, The Entertainer doesn’t come equipped with the clout needed to make any serious mark, or to give Dixon the payoff she’s clearly been working hard for. First single from the project, Drummer Boy, did great things in creating chatter and reminding the nation of her presence. Sadly, it failed to translate commercially; and similarly sadly for those who warmed to its brassy quirk, it’s the lone example of such colourful, active bravery on The Entertainer.

That said, as an album, it’s indubitably not beige in any way. Harder beats, high energy and lightning-quick raps are plentiful: La La La demonstrates that fearless, attention-commanding charisma that not one of her UK contemporaries can boast; Colour blends on-the-spot melodies with hypnotic club rhythms; and current single Radio introduces exquisite balladry to the mix without contradicting the overall picture.

It’s the album Dixon should have come out with following the Misteeq split – not least because it’s a fluid transition from their edgy, Britcentric R&B, but in time-sensitive terms. Back in 2005, The Entertainer would’ve sounded inventive, exciting and head-turning. Not that it sounds dated here on the verge of 2011, but it’ll be horribly lost in a vast ocean of post-Gaga, demi-electro grime-pop.
It’s not what Alesha Dixon deserves. An impressive vocalist with her own unique tone; the ability to flit between songbird and MC; a choreography-smashing clotheshorse; and personality in abundance, topped off with a wickedly filthy cackle. She’s a fucking brilliant popstar. Sadly, we live in a world where marketing is the be-all and end-all, so while music forums quack haplessly about which shows she should be performing on, which producers she should have worked with, and how to get on the Radio 1 A-List, there remains a popstar unable to fulfil her potential. And while there’s a great deal of good will towards Alesha Dixon, unfortunately, good will alone doesn’t flog units.

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