"Echo" by Leona Lewis on iTunes

14 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

This London-born singer earns comparisons with past R&B/pop icons on her sophomore album Echo, keeping diva bombast to a minimum in favor of more smoldering, emotionally believable performances. To be sure, there are plenty of stellar producers (including Xenomania and Timbaland) on board to frame Lewis in stylish, high-gloss settings. The steamy “Can’t Breathe,” the throbbing “Fly Here Now” and the epochal “Lost Then Found” (featuring One Republic in seven-plus minutes of uplifting gospel/pop glory) load on the melodrama effectively. But even when she reaches for the Big Note, Lewis radiates honesty and class, as in the aching survivor’s anthem “Happy.” The sleek “Love Letter” and the techno-fueled “Outta My Head” lend some pop sparkle to the proceedings, and for extra celeb content, Justin Timberlake shares vocals on the slow-simmering “Don’t Let Me Down.” Throughout, Lewis shows taste and poise, knowing when to turn up her vocal power and when to hold back.

EDITORS’ NOTES

This London-born singer earns comparisons with past R&B/pop icons on her sophomore album Echo, keeping diva bombast to a minimum in favor of more smoldering, emotionally believable performances. To be sure, there are plenty of stellar producers (including Xenomania and Timbaland) on board to frame Lewis in stylish, high-gloss settings. The steamy “Can’t Breathe,” the throbbing “Fly Here Now” and the epochal “Lost Then Found” (featuring One Republic in seven-plus minutes of uplifting gospel/pop glory) load on the melodrama effectively. But even when she reaches for the Big Note, Lewis radiates honesty and class, as in the aching survivor’s anthem “Happy.” The sleek “Love Letter” and the techno-fueled “Outta My Head” lend some pop sparkle to the proceedings, and for extra celeb content, Justin Timberlake shares vocals on the slow-simmering “Don’t Let Me Down.” Throughout, Lewis shows taste and poise, knowing when to turn up her vocal power and when to hold back.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5

278 Ratings

Lewis takes risks on 'Echo'

DSM112,

Fresh off her international smash ‘Spirit,’ Leona Lewis offers up another collection of diverse vocal exhibitions on ‘Echo.’ An all-star roster of writers and producers ranging from Ryan Tedder to Kevin Rudolf and Max Martin and led by Simon Cowell and Clive Davis are responsible for the disc, which does a lot to show she is not afraid to take a few risks.

‘Echo’ leads off with the mid-tempo “Happy,” co-written by Ryan Tedder, who was also responsible for the success of “Bleeding Love.” The song tries its best to be another “statement,” and although its lyrics carry with it a positive message, “Happy” ends up being one of the weaker tracks.

The second track, “I Got You,” is much more impressive and could be a huge hit at radio if given the chance thanks to the help of proven hit maker Max Martin. The relevant production elements on “I Got You” pair up with Lewis’ all-star vocals, with her lower register in the verses adding depth and richness.

There are more dance themes found on ‘Echo,’ which suits Lewis surprisingly well. “Outta My Head” is exhibit A of this sound, with synths accompanying Lewis’ upper register throughout the majority of the track. Despite the unoriginal lyrics, the song isn’t bad for what it bills itself as. On the 80’s influenced “Fly Here Now,” Lewis incorporates drum clashes and prominent backing vocals in her call to her lover to “fly like an airplane” into her arms. These are not the strongest songs on the album by any stretch, but they serve a purpose.

“Can’t Breathe” is useful in showcasing Lewis’ falsetto, but it sounds like it could work for a more R&B-leaning artist like Rihanna. Still, it fits in with the rest of the track list pretty nicely. The Kevin Rudolf-produced “Love Letter” takes on a slightly more pop/rock feel than anything else on ‘Echo,’ though it still would be suitable for AC radio. The lyrics are a bit slushy (“Now I believe that this is fate / cause baby we belong together / I know everything is gonna be okay / just as long as we have each other”), but they fit the production fairly well.

It would be crazy for Lewis not to tackle an assortment of big-voiced ballads, and so there is a good selection on ‘Echo.’ The John Shanks-produced “Alive” allows Lewis to rise out of the ashes like a phoenix to voice her resiliency (“Where do I go when I’m so alone / where do I turn when you are so close / we try not to crash but we still collide / tears I’ve cried / I’ll survive / I’m alive”). Other ballads that showcase Lewis’ strengths include the middle eastern-tinged “Brave” and the inspirational “My Hands.”These tracks are classic Lewis and really serve as the album’s heart.

“You Don’t Care” is another Tedder track and is probably the weakest offering on ‘Echo.’ It sounds like a OneRepublic leftover and should have been left off the U.S. edition in favor of the superior “Naked.”

The strongest offering on ‘Echo’ is without a doubt “Don’t Let Me Down,” thanks in part to the role Justin Timberlake played in writing and backing vocals. The beautifully mellow theme of “Down” and the vulnerability of Lewis’ vocals compared to the rest of the album’s tracks is top-notch, because she demonstrates constant glory notes are not always necessary to prove vocal prowess.

Lewis ends ‘Echo’ on a strong note with “Lost Then Found” featuring OneRepublic. Tedder’s vocals complement hers well, and even though the chorus is cookie-cutter Tedder songwriting, the overall production is excellent and the song’s message is positive. The hidden track “Stone Hearts & Hand Grenades” is a nice bonus because it is vulnerably yet beautifully sung.

Despite the fact that ‘Echo’ is not superior to ‘Spirit,’ it is definitely on a level playing field and shows that Leona Lewis is committed to incorporating new themes and sounds in her recording career, and it is highly likely she will have another hot one on her hands.

It Echoes in my ear and my heart.

givemikemilk,

God, this album is totally different from Spirit. I reccomend Happy, of course, and also Don't Let Me Down, Brave and My Hands, and the rest.LOL. Amazing Leona! What too bad is that I heard she released different bonus track in different countries. She should just released it all in one deluxe album. That would be great.

About Leona Lewis

A striking young woman with a strong vocal resemblance to the young Whitney Houston, Leona Lewis won the third series of The X Factor in a landslide, and transcended her reality-show origins to register sales in the tens of millions over her career.

Born and raised in the Islington section of north London, Lewis won a talent show at the age of 13 and devoted herself to music thereafter, eventually graduating from the prestigious BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. While working as a receptionist and pizza waitress and writing her own material, Lewis auditioned for The X Factor in the summer of 2006 and won the third series' competition in December of that year. Lewis' debut single, a soulful cover of Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" (Clarkson's own debut American Idol showcase single), was the number one single in the U.K. at the turn of the year, including the coveted "Christmas number one."

Along with her TV-driven U.K. success, Lewis signed an American recording deal with Clive Davis' J Records in February 2007. By the end of the year, she had launched her debut album, Spirit, in England, and watched it go to the top of the charts (along with the single "Bleeding Love"). The American release followed in 2008 with similar success; it reached the top of the Billboard 200 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Album. Echo, Lewis' follow-up, was issued in 2009, featuring collaborations with Ryan Tedder, Xenomania, and Timbaland. Also in 2009, Lewis released the single "I See You (Theme from Avatar)." Written by James Horner and Simon Franglen, the song was featured on the soundtrack to the hit James Cameron film Avatar. The following year, Lewis promoted Echo with the Labyrinth tour. Inspired by the 1986 fantasy film of the same name, the tour was showcased on the DVD/CD The Labyrinth Tour: Live from the O2 in 2010. In 2011, Lewis began recording her third studio album, Glassheart, showcasing writing and production by a bevy of names including Ryan Tedder, Fraser T. Smith, Dallas Austin, and others. The album had a long gestation period, during which it slowly became more electronic dance-oriented. It finally appeared in Europe in October 2012.

Glassheart didn't perform well on the charts -- it only went silver in the U.K. and never appeared in the U.S. -- and she split with her management, Modest!, in February 2013. At the end of the year, she released Christmas, With Love, a seasonal record in the style of A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. In 2014, it was announced that she was parting ways with Sony Records and signing with Universal's Island subsidiary. On September 11, 2015 she released her first album for the label, I Am, which debuted at 12 in the U.K. but generated no major hits; its first single, "Fire Under My Feet," peaked at 51. In the summer of 2016, Lewis starred as Grizabella in a Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, during which time she announced her split from Island and released the charity single "(We All Are) Looking for Home." ~ Stewart Mason

  • ORIGIN
    Islington, London, England
  • BORN
    Apr 3, 1985

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