Anastacia burst onto the pop music scene in 2000 with the fantastic I’m Outta Love and her funky debut album Not That Kind. Enjoying huge success with that album and follow-ups Freak of Nature (2001) and Anastacia (2004), the big-voiced singer’s career took a tumble when she moved labels for her fourth release Heavy Rotation. In 2014 Anastacia made a triumphant return with her Top 10 album Resurrection, after beating breast cancer for a second time. The album was well received but it wasn’t a huge commercial success.
Three years on from that album, Anastacia released Evolution in September. Lead single Caught in the Middle suggested that the singer may be back to her pop best so I was very interested to see if Evolution was a return to form. Frustratingly the answer is not quite. Evolution starts strong with Caught in the Middle but it soon starts to lose steam and honestly the sound is a little bit dated in places such as on the 90s pop of Nobody Loves Me Better and the throwback soul/pop of Reckless.
It’s not that Evolution is a bad album, it’s just not a great one. There are glimpses of greatness such as the piano ballad My Everything, which showcases that powerful voice we know and love. The uptempo Boxer is the kind of self-empowerment anthem that Anastacia has built a career on and Boomerang is a seriously funky moment that’s head and shoulders above many of the other songs.
There are a few too many midtempo moments that don’t stick in the memory. The 1-2-3 punch of Not Coming Down, Before and Pain are too similar and while I love a ballad from Anastacia, I don’t want nearly a full album of them.
I was hoping for some real bangers after hearing Caught in the Middle but Evolution doesn’t deliver that. Anastacia’s vocals are solid but she’s better than a lot of the material here. I’m holding out hope that she revisits her funk infused pop sound that launched her career for her next record and reminds us why we fell in love with her in the first place.
Track list: 1. Caught in the Middle 2. Redlight 3. Stamina 4. Boxer 5. My Everything 6. Nobody Loves Me Better 7. Reckless 8. Not Coming Down 9. Before 10. Pain 11. Why 12. Boomerang 13. Higher Livin’ Record label: Universal Music Release date: 15th September 2017