Alexandra Burke – Overcome [deluxe] review

Author’s note: This blog post was originally made as part of the author’s final requirement for the MMS 142 (Internet Technologies) course, namely, a website creation using content management system (CMS). The topic he chose is making reviews of music albums.

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Album details

Year of release: 2010

Genre: Pop

Record label: Syco; Sony

No. of tracks: 17

How I got it

This CD+DVD package is the very first one from among the Odyssey store sales. Initially priced at around PHP 450 (or is it PHP 490? 510? Can’t remember.), it was slashed to PHP 100 (!) when titles of artists under Sony Music went on sale. Quite limited, to be honest, but Alexandra Burke’s “Overcome” album stood out among those titles because at a bargain price of PHP 100, I already get the CD which contains the re-issued CD – the album was originally released in 2009, as well as the DVD that contains the music videos for the six singles of the album. Ah, finally, I thought to myself, I can finally watch Alexandra’s video of “Hallelujah”, which is on YouTube, but blocked virtually everywhere except maybe the UK, her country of origin.

As the record plays

Background check for Ms. Burke first. She won series 5 of The X Factor UK in 2008. Yes, she pre-dated the X Factor appearances of those we enjoy now, such as Cher Lloyd, Olly Murs, James Arthur, Little Mix, and oh yeah, One Direction.

The first four tracks are all singles from the album, including the carrier single from this re-package: “Start without You” (feat. Laza Morgan), the cool and underrated single “The Silence”, her first single proper “Bad Boys” (feat. Flo Rida), and the single version of “All Night Long” (feat. Pitbull). Speaking of “Start without You”, the UK Official Charts Company reported that another music video was filmed for that song, only for it to be scrapped, and all we got was the video below. Maybe this is why I have reservations for this song?

And another wierdo placement of tracks herein. Her Cobra Starship collaboration “What Happens on the Dancefloor”, a pretty much mediocre club track, was sandwiched between the pop ballads “Perfect” and “Before the Rain”. The track “Perfect”, I believe, was the 2009 epitome of what we Filipinos call patama: “They say I’m not perfect / But at the end of the day / Who is?”.

The album’s second single, “Broken Heels”, follows after, which is one of the tracks here that I think sends a message of female empowerment, especially with this lyric in the chorus: “All the ladies tell the fellas / We can do what they can do / We can do it even better with broken heels”.

The final few tracks, save for the last song, were all non-singles. “Good Night Good Morning”, her collabo with Ne-Yo, has some club banger-plus-hangover anthem vibe (“What will it be / For you and me / Is it good night / Or is it good morning?”) that should have been a potential single (maybe), only because it has some other vocalist helping her.

The production of  both “Bury Me (6 Feet Under)” and “You Broke My Heart” are so huge that they felt like songs from Broadway or West End musicals. “Dumb” feels like a so-good-it’s-bad twerk anthem due to its dancey beat; the title track “Overcome” is actually the strongest non-single in the album; “Gotta Go” doesn’t do the trick for me, despite being a ballad that should be a strong point for Burke; “Nothing But the Girl” is a dance-pop number, in addition to being another pro-women anthem just based on the title alone; and “They Don’t Know” is quite a nice story-telling ballad that could actually fit as a charity single for BBC Children In Need, which usually employs slow, mellow ballads.

The song that caps the album is her winner’s single, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, which went on to set many records in the UK chart history, including being a million-selling single, as well as the biggest-selling song in the UK for 2008, despite only being released in December of that year. Sadly, she disowned her own cover of the song in a later interview.

Track-by-track verdict

  1. Start without You [feat. Laza Morgan] (3/5)
  2. The Silence [new single mix] (5/5)
  3. Bad Boys [feat. Flo Rida] (4/5)
  4. All Night Long [feat. Pitbull] (4/5)
  5. Perfect (4/5)
  6. What Happens on the Dancefloor [feat. Cobra Starship] (2/5)
  7. Before the Rain (3/5)
  8. Broken Heels [single mix] (4/5)
  9. Good Night Good Morning [feat. Ne-Yo] (3/5)
  10. Bury Me [6 Feet Under] (4/5)
  11. Dumb (3/5)
  12. Overcome (5/5)
  13. Gotta Go (2/5)
  14. You Broke My Heart (4/5)
  15. Nothing But the Girl (4/5)
  16. They Don’t Know (4/5)
  17. Hallelujah (5/5)

Average of ratings: 3.71/5.00

Singles: Hallelujah, Bad Boys (feat. Flo Rida), Broken Heels, All Night Long (feat. Pitbull), Start without You (feat. Laza Morgan), The Silence

Songs that could’ve been singles: Perfect, Good Night Good Morning (feat. Ne-Yo), Overcome, Nothing But the Girl, They Don’t Know

Final words

Just PHP 100 on a CD+DVD package that has been released six years ago (!) is quite the package, indeed. It also enables me to find the lost pop gems that could otherwise be forgotten forever. And pair that with an artist that suits my interests, like Alexandra Burke, this makes up for a very valuable bargain.

A few months later, on the PHP 50 sale of the SM City Dasmariñas branch of Odyssey, I also acquired a CD+DVD package which is also my first purchase on the discount rack – Sarah Brightman’s “Dreamchaser”, which is a classical crossover album. I picked her first due to being quite an underrated artist for her craft, besides, of course, the CD+DVD package.

Ken

10/11/2016

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