Review of Seven by Lisa Stansfield
The less than imaginatively named Seven is, surprise surprise, the seventh studio album from northern soul diva, Lisa Stansfield. The fact that this is Lisa Stansfield’s seventh studio album is a fantastic achievement. The fact that a lot of our younger readers haven’t probably even heard of her, is testament to how strong Lisa was. After a decade long hiatus, does Lisa Stansfield have something to offer still, or is she just one of those voices from the past trying to make something from a reputation that died a long time ago?
Well today’s British female voices such as Leona Lewis, Adele and Ellie Goulding have received international recognition for their music. Well most of those would have been in nappies when Lisa Stansfield was peppering hits all around the world. (For the eagle eyes amongst you, yes that was a poor pun. Sorry). But in the late 80s Lisa Stansfield was the first English female vocalist to make a genuine international impression since Dusty Springfield.
There was something different about Lisa’s voice. Her distinctive voice and sultry, soulful tones got the music buying public here and particularly in the states uber excited. Lisa became recognised thanks to All Around The World the massive hit single that featured on here solo debut album Affection in 1989. Little known fact, but Lisa did rerecord this track as a duet with the legendary Barry White, the track was released in 1992.
So enough of the history lesson, does Seven deliver the goods for Rochdale’s greatest export?
Lisa Stansfield has openly spoken about her ten year absence, stating that the world hasn’t really been right for the soulful music that she made her name in. But apparently now is the time and the world is ready.
The thing about Seven that makes it feel current is the exact same thing that made Stansfield’s previous albums. Seven is a massive mix of ballads, dance numbers and pop hits all underpinned by a light tough of feisty feminism. Lisa is a true northern girl, tough but with a heart of gold and this is Omni-present throughout Seven.
The lead track Can’t Dance was already a big player on BBC Radio 2. Thanks to some great remixes as well the track crossed over to a younger audience and has been a big number in a number of clubs up and down the country. Can’t Dance isn’t the only one for dance fans. Picket Fence has some great beats, Love Can has a slightly more RnB/Soul flow and Carry On is a real homage to where Lisa’s heart is, a true reflection of her northern soul roots. There are three or four ballads on the album as well, but Conversation is my favourite, its real edge, passion and dramatic intonations make it a ballad that rivals anything in her back catalogue.
Overall Seven is a triumph. Whilst it won’t have many singles played on Radio One, it is a great composition that sits comfortably alongside its contemporaries. Have a listen to the tracks available on the web and then buy Seven when it is released on 10th February. You will not be disappointed. I just hope the world hasn’t moved on too much in the decade’s absence and the music buying public back, what is truly on of British soul’s real talents.