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Album Review

Kate Ryan's third album Alive was her first to feature no cover versions, and was an admirable step forward in her development as a pop singer. However it was a commercial flop, so it is with a sense of crushing inevitability that her fourth studio effort features three covers of classic French pop hits: "Ella Elle L'a" by France Gall, "Voyage Voyage" by Desireless, and "Toute Premièr Fois" by Jeanne Mas. As with her earlier Mylène Farmer covers they're rather well-done updates, "Voyage Voyage" in particular is a fantastic reimagining of an underrated classic, but their presence still represents a disappointing failure of nerve on the part of Ryan's team. Not that it matters. Preceding the album's release, "Voyage Voyage" and "Ella Elle L'a" became massive hits; her most successful releases since the aforementioned Mylène Farmer covers in most countries.

While Ryan's sound has regressed, thankfully her quality control has not. "Free" is another consistently strong effort. It only once hits the heights of the best tracks from Alive, on the minimal, brooding "L.I.L.Y. (Like I Love You)," but it is a strong collection of Europop with much less filler than her first two records. "I Surrender" and "Tonight We Ride" are high-gloss disco tracks which should extend her run of hits beyond the cover versions, and Eurogames 2007 theme tune "We All Belong" is a punchy electro number. Best of all though, surprisingly, is closing ballad "Free." Ryan's songwriting abilities have been increasingly sidelined by her quest for hits, but the entirely self-composed "Free" is a revelation. A majestic, string-laden ballad with soul-searching lyrics and hands down the best vocal performance of her career, it's both a great closer and a frustrating glimpse at what she could be capable of if she played things a little less safe.

Customer Reviews

Kate's the best on the dancefloor

More thumping beats, cool harmonies and awesome melodies - oh, and let's not forget the brilliant voice. Unmissable for the dance crowd.

Biography

Born: 22 July 1980

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Belgian-born singer/songwriter Kate Ryan was a multi-instrumentalist by the age of eight and a full-fledged performer by the time she was in her mid-teens. Approached by a manager at the age of 16, she joined the soft rock/pop group Melt. She spent two years with the band, eventually leaving to pursue a career as a solo artist. Her first single, a cover of Mylene Farmer's "Desenchantee'," went platinum in Belgium and topped the European charts for months, a...
Full bio
Free (iTunes Exclusive), Kate Ryan
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  • 89,00 kr
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Electronic, Dance
  • Released: 01 January 2008

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