Thursday, August 31, 2006

A thing I wrote about Jamelia

jamelia is dressed in an american football costumeIs Jamelia Britain's only bona fide R&B star? That would certainly seem to be the case, but you'd never have predicted that turn of events in 2000. Back then, she'd had just one 'proper' hit with the underwhelming Destiny's Child rip-off, Money (featuring celebrity homophobe Beenie Man). Her next single, Call Me, was unremarkable in tune and chart performance, and Jamelia seemed destined for dumperdom.

Things didn't improve with her second album, either. The lead single, Bout, disappeared without trace, largely because it was a tuneless mess. So what happened next was something of a shock...

Superstar - a much poppier track than Jamelia had ever released - entered the charts at number eight. And then it began to climb, and climb, and climb. Seven weeks later it was number two. And justifiably so. The song is a superlative slice of pop, with one of those tricksy choruses that seems unremarkable until you realise you've been whistling it in your sleep.

jamelia in a black dress. classicJamelia's album was hastily repackaged to include a Chris Martin-penned ballad, and Jamelia was rebranded as a silky pop soulstress. It was a transformation equal to David Bowie killing off Ziggy Stardust. Or, perhaps more pertinently, when Robbie reversed his headfirst freefall into the dumper by releasing Angels.

But then - oh no! - Jamelia got pregnant. What is it with British soul singers and getting knocked up? Ms Dynamite, Monie Love, Neneh Cherry - they've all managed to stall a promising career by allowing a boy to put his man-gherkin in their private lady place. You wouldn't get that sort of behaviour from Beyoncé.

Praise be, then, that Jamelia is back from the maternity ward with a nanny (Leanne) and a truly excellent single. Something About You is a classy little love song reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone. You can tell it’s a top priority for record company Parlophone because they've spent money on the video (Jamelia wears four separate outfits, which is a key indicator of cash being splashed around like papery water).

PS Wouldn't it be great to see Jamelia do a duet with Lemar? A big old Marvin Gaye / Tammi Tyrell love song would be ideal. Perhaps we could petition the Mobos people and get them to do something about that.

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