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Lessons to Be Learned

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Album Review

U.K.-based Australian teenager Gabriella Cilmi released her debut album at the end of March 2008 to critical acclaim but not much public notice. However, as is often the case, word of mouth spread slowly and the album built into a Top Ten hit as more people discovered it. Having co-written all of the tracks with the production team of Xenomania (the team behind Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, with whom she had just finished touring) Gabriella Cilmi delivered a confident album with styles varying from Eurovision pop-disco ("Messy," "Don't Wanna Go to Bed Now," and "Save the Lies") to cool 1950s swing jazz ("Awkward Lies" and the first single to be taken from the album, "Sweet About Me"), 1960s girl group pop ("Got No Place to Go"), and a few ballads ("Einstein," "Safer," and "Sit in the Blues"). The album closed with the only cover version, a faithful reproduction of Martha & the Muffins' "Echo Beach," which appeared on the U.K. version only. A good debut album, but it had all been heard before, many times in a crowded market, with her voice sounding like a cross between Anastacia and Joss Stone (particularly on opening track "Save the Lies," which also had a Kylie Minogue-style backing track). In particular, the recent albums by Duffy and Adele were brought to mind, with Cilmi sounding quite like Duffy on the song "Sanctuary" and therefore also evoking memories of Dusty Springfield — not a bad thing, once again, but Duffy did it a couple of months before.

Customer Reviews

Another Powerful International Album

Gabriella Cilmi has had huge success with Lessons to Be Learned around the world. She is a formitable star that is ready to take on the United States and will likely break out here much like her fellow UK stars: Leona Lewis, Duffy, and Adele. She has one of those distinct memorable voices that you either love or hate, except she is careful to leave some songs where her unique voice doesn't stick out so much to please the fans that aren't into that sort of voice. Each song is carefully crafted with amazing lyrics and fun background music that echos from decades ago. Stand out tracks include: "Sweet about Me" (the lead single), "Awkward Game", "Sanctuary", "Got No Place to Go", and the rocking "Terrifying" or if you prefer balads "Safer" 'Lessons to Be Learned' has a great variety that is connected with Gabriella's distict personality, but it might be better to just buy the songs that appeal the most to you.

Finally in the US! Pretty good debut...expecting great things in the future!

I'm very excited that this album is finally out in the US. This girl has some serious talent. The album itself is pretty good. There are some amazing songs (Sweet About Me) and some not so great ones (Save the Lies) but overall very impressive for making this record at the tender age of 16. This is not Disney cookie cutter trash. This is music. I wish they had Echo Beach on this but oh well. My top recommendations if you don't want to get the entire album: Sweet About Me Cigarettes and Lies Awkward Game And the iTunes review is terrible. Don't even both reading it. Just because she sounds like a handful of other artists, it doesn't make her any less talented. Every pop star sounds exactly the same and yet iTunes falls all over them and bows to them. This is a nice debut from her and I'm really looking forward to hearing a lot more from her!

It may be alright.

Personally, this album does nothing for me, but I could see why people dig it. She has a different sound and her melodies vary all the while remaining catchy. But, I feel like she's just the goodie-two-show version of Amy Winehouse.


Born: October 10, 1991 in Melbourne, Australia

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A Melbourne-born, U.K.-based singer/songwriter, Gabriella Cilmi possesses a smoky, whiskey-soaked voice that belies her age and a feisty rock attitude that placed her on the inside fast track to pop stardom. Born October 10, 1991, in Dandenong, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Cilmi attended Sacred Heart Girls' College in nearby Oakleigh, where, when rebuffed at an audition for a high-school musical and told she lacked the discipline to be a good singer, she was driven to form a garage band and...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Gabriella Cilmi

Lessons to Be Learned, Gabriella Cilmi
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