Review Roundup: Leona Lewis – ‘Echo’

Echo

Leona Lewis sets her sights on conquering the U.S. market once more with her sophomore album Echo, soaring into stores today. Did the British songbird’s follow-up to last year’s Spirit fly with critics? Find out below.

Entertainment Weekly: Too much of Echo is mired in soppy balladry and standard-issue dancery that seem meant to be consumed with a box of drugstore Chablis. When it works, however, as on the soaring “Happy” and feathery, synth-laden “I Got You,” all is (momentarily) redeemed. C+

Rolling Stone: On her second album, the U.K. belter delivers synth arrangements that arc skyward, toward Simon Cowell’s mountaintop redoubt. Lewis is technically flawless, but behind lyrics about “the scars on my heart,” there’s little personality—you miss a little of Mariah and Whitney’s supersize ego. 2.5 out of 5

The Boston Globe: To its credit, though, Echo sounds downright sumptuous, spotlighting the impressive peaks and valleys of Lewis’ voice. “Can’t Breathe” is a marvel for just how effortlessly Lewis ascends the scales, and the dance-pop delight “Outta My Head” strikes the perfect balance between Lewis’ penchant for sugar and a Lady Gaga-size heaping of spice.

Newsday: On Echo, Lewis shows some subtlety and—gasp!—fun. Yes, Echo is still too ballad-heavy, especially the droopy single “Happy,” but, with Eastern tinges on “Brave” and the upper-register wails of “Breathe,” she keeps it interesting. B

The Observer (U.K.): Serving up great, gutsy ballads by the dozen, the likes of “Happy” and “Broken” are easy to scoff at but difficult not to caterwaul along to, while tinny electro-pop ditty “Outta My Head” is the only serious misfire, confirming Lewis does sexy and upbeat like Jedward do singing in tune. Otherwise, it’s all as technically unimpeachable as it is artistically moribund.

Telegraph (U.K.): As one would expect from a Simon Cowell protégée, the “X Factor” diva’s second album sticks rigidly to pop formulas that established her success: tightly constructed, emotionally histrionic ballads of thwarted ardour and love lost, given the kind of luxurious production that starts small and builds to a series of escalating climaxes. 3 out of 5

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Happy,” “Brave,” “Outta My Head,” “Don’t Let Me Down”



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17 Comments

  1. Kaye

    sampled the album and to be honest , its sounds very samey . very depressing album actually . suicidal stuff

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  2. crunkpoet

    i love it…this is a very chill album and people expect for everyone to do pop and rock these days and thats not the case….i hope she does well

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  3. drtash

    I don’t expect her to do that well in America. We all know that the only thing MOST modern american consumers love is a hot beat with meaningless/sexualised lyrics. (like Britney’s 3). And since Echo has none of those it will flop over there. She only sold 500,000 copies of Spirit over there but guess what, she STILL sold 7 million copies worldwide. So she doesn’t really need a large American fanbase. All she needs is the exposure from the US media, and Echo will sell everywhere else.

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    jonathan Reply:

    @drtash, actually her album has gone platinium in the US…

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  4. Sugar Rush

    I previewed the album iand i didn’t like it, it was soo boring!! it just seemed to have the same montonus tone, its enough to drive you drink…

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  5. joy

    This album is bland and boring. I listened to the stream and i had to force myself not to skip tracks. Most of the songs sound a like and too many ballads. No beats, no emotion.

    Give me Whitney or Mariah any day…at least they Saaang and gives us riffs and runs for days.

    I’ll be passing on this but sweet girl

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  6. Giselle

    It’s not bland and boring its Pop music at its best. She showcases her voice really well on each track. All the songs are well written. It’s actually a step up from her last album, which was too slow.

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  7. Mike

    I think this album is wayyy better then her first. Shes showcasing her talent as a vocal performer. Her range is out of this world and her music reminds me of Whitneys “I Will always Love you” because Whitney only sang with a paino and Lewis sings beautifully on her own and she doesn’t need anything else to make it epic. Leona = EPIC. Just like Lady GaGa is for Pop, Leona is for the Gospel sound. Leona is the perfect example of a stunning vocalist. A++ on her new Album ECHO!!! (and her echo will blow you away)

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  8. Dave

    I completely agree with Mike. I love her for her vocals, and as a vocalist, and her ballads. With that alone the album shall be good.

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  9. tammy

    leona’s fab…and the album is awesome!!

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  10. Ash Jones

    This album is a stellar collection of vocal prowess that cannot be touched by anyone else in the industry. Mariah and Whitney were great in their days but to be frank neither is really much to look at for the moment. Of course ‘Echo’ is going to be difficult to sell to the American market because there are already fantastic Ballad-singers such as the MC and Whitney. Most important is her UK achievement – a well deserved number 1 album.

    Crucially there error was assuming that Leona didn’t need to re-promote herself in America. Its been so long since she released anything in America that im not surprised the buzz has died down. She should have promoted her single much more in America. The x-factor alone was enuf to get it to number 2 in the UK.

    The second error? Releasing another average Ryan Tedder production. “Happy” is too similar to “Bleeding Love”. Personally i would have liked Leona to have released “I Got You” as the lead single. And then instead of releasing “Outta My Head” (as Simon Cowell wants to as stated in Radio 1 interview) release “My Hands” instead as this is much more organic sound. Oh well… when do large record labels ever listen these days?

    Im sorry but Ryan Tedder productions are so dead now… “Happy” probably sounded awesome back early 2009 but by the end of the year it sounds lame, already heard before and uninspiration.

    Oh and for all the haters she IS A SINGER-SONGWRITER. Less comparisons to Whitney and Mariah’s attitude from the past (MC is vapid now, Whitney is calmer now) would also help… gosh no one understands grace and poise.

    Just because Leona’s music isn’t played in clubs were people grind on each other don’t mean she isn’t awesome. You haterz should go and listen to some shitty music like Cassie in those dirty backstreet clubs and leave the stunning live performances to the likes of Leona (she kicks ass with recent mariah and whitney performances).

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  11. cantona

    its good to see there’s still albums coming out where all tracks are good . finally some good music !

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  12. Bojan

    This album is so underrated that I’m stunned.
    What people need to understand is: you don’t listen to an album once and make conclusions on that.

    Not to mention those who say I listened to the samples and made a conclusion. Dear God…

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  13. Ben

    I agree with Bojan. It’s a shame the album hasn’t done that well here, but luckily for her, it’s sold almost a million copies WW so far so she isn’t doing TOO shabby.

    But the album could have done well had she not released it on such a busy month for music. She went up against too many established artists.

    Hell had she released it one week earlier she would have had another number 1 album (look at sales that week) but the problem with that is that it would have been overshadowed after all of the big releases came out.

    She’ll have a re-release of the album in the Summer for her tour so hopefulkyl her management make it their top priority to push that and have it go to number 1 or at least sell very well.

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  14. Anita

    I bought Spirit and Echo. They are both fabulous. I listen to Echo everyday. I Can’t Breathe is a masterpiece. This girl is beautiful and talented. We are so lucky to be able to hear her sing! Leona has grace, poise and class. She is so young to have accomplished all that she did so far.

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  15. cazz

    I LOVE HER NEW ALBUM SHE IS TRULY AMAZING AND I ALSO LIKE THE TRACK CANT BREATH I ALSO LISTEN TO HER ALBUM MOST DAYS THE MORE YOU LISTEN THE MORE ADDICTIVE IT BECOMES I LIKE LEONA FOR HER INNOCENCE AND A TRUE ABILITY TO SING LIVE AND NOT MIME LIKE SOME OTHERS NEW NEW SONG I GOT YOU IS BRILL TOO

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  16. popsicles

    at first i thought happy was a bit lame, then listening to the whole album i thought oh no, too many ballads, outta my head seems outta place with the rest of the album, only like a couple of songs on there. now i pretty much like every single song on there. especially dont let me down, happy, broken and my hands, the album wasnt successful because everyone is into lady gaga music and her management are shit . end off ,at least we can say leona will be around for another 10 albums :)

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