Picks and Pans Review: Freak of Nature
To U.S. audiences it might have seemed a bit freakish for blue-eyed soul sister Anastacia to end up in a lineup alongside Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige and Cher at last month's VH1 Divas concert in Las Vegas. In Europe, though, Chicago-born Anastacia (full name: Anastacia Newkirk) went multi-platinum with her 2000 debut, Not That Kind, and this follow-up, which has already hit No. 1 overseas. Her formulaic mix of funky dance numbers and melodramatic ballads, delivered with powerhouse belting and sassy attitude, recalls late-'80s/early-'90s R&B pop star Taylor Dayne, but that approach can be as dated as acid-washed jeans. The 26-year-old singer, who cowrote all 12 of the album's songs, tries to freshen things up with a hip-hop-edged duet with Faith Evans, but even that falls flat. Anastacia is most successful when she shifts gears on more reflective, folk-tinged pop-rock tunes such as "Overdue Goodbye" and "How Come the World Won't Stop," on which her more nuanced vocals flow naturally.
Bottom Line: Not-so-super Freak