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Broken & Beautiful

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Album Review

Suzie McNeil, after making it to the final four on the international television success RockStar INXS, was posed to be a rock superstar. However, INXS-flavored rock wasn't meant to be for McNeil, as can be seen on her debut album Broken and Beautiful. Instead of following the other ladies of RockStar into a harder rock area (Storm Large, Dilana), McNeil shifted towards much friendlier power pop, in a similar vein to Kelly Clarkson and Pink. She enlists the help of Kara DioGuardi and Marti Frederiksen to write practically all of Broken and Beautiful for her, therefore leaving herself almost entirely out of the writing process. She has only two co-writing credits on the album. However, this might not be a totally bad thing. DioGuardi and Frederiksen have created a perfect album for McNeil, one that is catchy without being a sell-out, and indulgent without seeming pretentious. The album is stocked with hard pop chart smashers like "Hung Up" and "Skin," which would appeal to any radio listener. After that point, the album is heavy on rock ballads that McNeil shimmers on endlessly. "The One," "Lonely," "So in Love," and "Poison" are passionate, powerful, and sound amazing. There is never a doubt as to McNeil's vocal talents throughout the course of the album, mainly because she never sacrifices her vocal credibility in exchange for technology. However, the true highlight of Broken and Beautiful comes only two tracks into the album, with "Believe." "Believe" is an emotionally powerful ballad anthem which is not totally dissimilar (and older than) "Keep Holding On" by fellow Canadian Avril Lavigne. The song has garnered much fame in its own right in Canada and the United States. It was used as a theme song for The Biggest Loser, a weight-loss reality television program, and is the official anthem for the Canadian team of the Olympics, which is sponsored by Bell Canada, and the song is heavily publicized on their website. Overall, the album has some flaws. At only ten songs, and with seven of those tracks being ballads, there is less mainstream appeal than required for this album, but still, at the same time, the disc is too mainstream for rock fans. In other words, it borrows the negative traits of both "Breakaway" and "My December" without having the appeal of Pink's "I'm Not Dead." However, every single track individually is strong, and the best moments on the album are stronger than anything Kelly Clarkson ever recorded. With any luck, Broken and Beautiful will be a commercial success and McNeil will become the household name she deserves to be.


Born: 15 October 1976 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Canadian-born Suzie McNeil had already enjoyed a diverse and successful career as a musician before she rose to fame in North America as a contestant on the musical reality show Rock Star: INXS, in which she was one of 15 vocalists competing for the chance to become the new lead singer for veteran Australian pop/rock band INXS. McNeil was born in 1976 in Mississauga, Ontario, to a musically inclined family, and began singing as a child with her sister and her mom. McNeil was blessed with a voice...
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Broken & Beautiful, Suzie McNeil
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