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Come and Get It

Rachel Stevens

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Album Review

Come and Get It might be the definitive album of 2000s U.K. chart pop — even if, perhaps paradoxically, it was a commercial flop, stiffing at number 28 on the British albums chart the week of its release, falling off sharply thereafter, and failing to launch a single higher than number ten on the singles chart. This utterly mediocre performance (in terms of its genre, at least) is astonishing when you consider that the album was masterminded by the finest songwriters and producers in the game (including Richard X, Xenomania, Jewels & Stone, Pascal Gabriel, and Hannah Robinson, who had collectively delivered smashes for Sugababes, Girls Aloud, Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and countless others) and fronted by one of the nation's prominent sex symbols. But its failure becomes utterly mind-boggling when you actually listen to the thing: it's a collection of 13 thoroughly excellent electronic dance-pop songs (including two alleged "bonus tracks" that seem to appear on all released editions), all of which sound custom-designed to fulfill the "dreams of number one" Stevens sang about in her most successful single to date, 2004's "Some Girls" (which peaked at number two.) That song, which was appended to a re-release of Stevens' similarly excellent and underheralded debut Funky Dory, is generously included here as well, and its Goldfrapp-indebted electro-rock schaffel provides a decent indication of the album's riches, but it's just the tip of the icy synth pop glacier. Making few concessions to the album format — there's no thematic through-line, and there are no ballads to speak of (though a couple of the songs are too slow to dance to) — Come and Get It is a marvel of pure pop craftsmanship, boasting inventive, fresh, engrossingly detailed productions, gorgeously layered vocals and synths, huge hooks, and infectious melodies. Sure the singles are tremendous, most notably the swaggering, up-tempo "I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)" and the glistening neo-disco of "So Good" — but the album tracks, nearly without exception, are equally strong, from the swooning, heavenly "I Will Be There" to the funky, Cure-sampling slow jam "All About Me," to the stirring, poignant "Nothing Good About This Goodbye," perhaps the album's most transcendent moment.

Especially in light of its lackluster reception, it comes across as a true labor of love, painstakingly constructed by and for discerning pop true believers, and destined for future pop cult enshrinement. With all this talk of craftsmanship, and all the talent that's on display, it's deceptively easy to overlook Rachel Stevens' role in all of this, to write her off as little more than a faceless, er, pretty face. And it's true that she doesn't present any sort of cohesive persona here, but that's due less to lack of charisma than to her conscious, consummate chameleonism, her own strongest point as a master pop stylist. She's equally comfortable, and equally convincing, portraying the wide-eyed romantic of "Secret Garden," the trenchant woman-scorned of "Negotiate with Love," and the brazen coquette of the R&B-haunted "Je M'Appelle" — all of whom could, after all, be the same woman at different moments. If this album offers us a glimpse of the "real" Rachel Stevens, it might very well be in its final track, the rather archly titled "Dumb Dumb," which belies its generic clubland groove with a ruminative third-person account of a gold-hearted, secretly despondent pinup who "sacrificed her image for her beauty." That's pure speculation of course, but it's hard to imagine Stevens tripping through the pop-star merry-go-round as she has, garnering such conspicuous potential and such compromised fulfillment, without picking up at least a touch of world-weary resignation. And all she wants is love. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi

Customer Reviews

An unexpected delight.

This was not supposed to be a great album - it was not even supposed to be good. A sophomore solo effort from a woman whose main claim to fame was being "the hot one" in a second-tier British pop group is not a ringing endorsement - and yet Rachel Stevens delivers an astoundingly good pop album that is, indeed, one of the best pop albums I have ever heard. And I've heard a lot of pop music. Every song on this album is good - the only song I have ever skipped is "Funny How," and even it is above 95% of the music on the radio today. Stevens and her producers do something that most artists can barely touch upon - they make pop music that is both danceable and also - yes - beautiful. "I Will Be There" starts off with an unspectactular beginning and verse, and then all of a sudden plunges you into the center of an electropop delight that, as one review said, "blooms out of your earphones." From the pulses of "So Good" to the melody of "Nothing Good About This Goodbye," this album is not to be missed by ANY serious lover of pop music.

Not To Be Missed

Although considered a commercial flop in her native U.K., Rachel Stevens' second solo album will, I predict, be looked upon as the truly first great pop album of the new millennium. Each and every song is absolutely flawless, and there's not a single weak moment to be found. Standouts include the stomping, Richard X-produced "Some Girls," the irresistible "I Said Never Again," the melodic "Nothing Good About This Goodbye," and the haunting "I Will Be There." Plus, any artist brave enough to sample from The Cure's "Lullaby" ("It's All About Me") wins my vote everytime. Why she has not achieved international superstardom when artists with less talent than she has in her little finger is a crying shame. Bottom line: you will not be disappointed in this CD--guaranteed.

I Said Never Again!

I had a roommate play me Rachel Steven's debut album, and I was less than impressed with the majority. So I scoffed when I heard that she was releasing a sophomore album - but surprisingly, this has become one of the strongest most replay-worthy albums I own. Every song is catchy if not radio worthy, the majority have a modernized electro-club sound to them - lending themselves perfectly to American radio. No standard low-grade pop here - this is an album that seems to be pretty quiet on American shores and yet is so much better than anything any of our recent pop 'divas' have put out. All the songs are great - but I highly recommend So Good, I Said Never Again (But Here We Are), I Will Be There, and Funny How (great dance beat!). Definitely give her a shot. This will be a welcome change to your ears when the radio keeps playing Britney's new untalented crap. Here's an artist who is taking pop to a new level - with the talent to back her up!

Biography

Born: April 9, 1978 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

One of S Club's biggest solo successes after the group folded in 2003, Rachel Stevens began singing and acting as a child and won a modeling competition at age 15. After earning a degree at the London School of Fashion, Stevens intended to go into fashion PR, but recorded some demos that ultimately led to her being cast in former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller's pop group/TV show S Club 7 in 1999. When the group's reign ended, Stevens wasted no time getting her own career off the ground: her solo...
Full Bio
Come and Get It, Rachel Stevens
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Dance, Pop, Teen Pop
  • Released: Oct 17, 2005

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