Rachel Stevens – Funky Dory

August 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Rachel Stevens | 2 Comments
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  1. Some Girls
  2. Sweet Dreams My LA Ex
  3. Funky Dory (Single Version)
  4. Fools
  5. Breathe In Breathe Out (Swat-Team Version)
  6. Glide
  7. Heaven Has To Wait
  8. More, More, More
  9. Blue Afternoon
  10. I Got The Money
  11. Little Secret
  12. Solid
  13. Silk
  14. Some Girls (Rhythm Masters Vocal Mix)

Rachel Stevens, former member of S Club 7, embarked on a solo career after the group disbanded. Funky Dory is her first solo album and was released in 2003. Rachel shed her pop teen image and went for a more confident and sexy image.

Sweet Dreams My LA Ex is produced by the talented duo Bloodshy & Avant. This song was actually written for Britney Spears who turned it down and later was offered to Rachel who felt it worked with the direction she was heading with her album. It definitely does give a glimpse of what you can expect from Funky Dory. I’m used to Bloodshy & Avant productions having lots of synths and electronic elements but this song hardly has any of that which was why I was surprised to see that they produced this. A guitar is used for most of the song with some synth being added to the pre-chorus and chorus while brass instruments are utilized for the bridge. The chorus is catchy, “can’t you stop playing that record again/find somebody else to talk about,” and the guitar and synth work well together. Rachel’s vocals are great, much better than expected, and I love when she speaks and whispers during the bridge because she sounds very sexy. Funky Dory (Single Version), continues the sound from the previous song and it works a bit better here. The guitar adds a slight Spanish flavour and Rachel’s vocals are strong and deep. An infectious and funky beat make this song quite spectacular and the chorus is irresistible, “you’re a work of pop art/wanna hang you on the wall/you’re funky dory baby.” Rachel whispers for the backing vocals and they really add to the sexy vibe of the song. There’s not much of a difference compared to the version that’s on the first release of the album. The melody is pretty much identical except for a few minor changes to the vibrancy of the instrumentals. This version has more excitement to it and the louder instrumental makes it pop out more. Fools is the weakest track on the album. The chorus is lacking and I don’t like the lyrics that much, “send me in the fools/throw away the heroes.” Rachel sounds energetic and the verses are pleasant but it just doesn’t click with me. It’s not that bad of a song it just lacks compared to the rest of the album.

Breathe In Breathe Out (Swat-Team Version) is one of the best songs on Funky Dory. There are a few differences between this and the first pressing version. The original is acoustic-oriented and begins with a lovely guitar but eventually switches into light synths and drums. In this version, the song starts off with a synth melody. For an uplifting song it has a slight aggressiveness to it because of the synths and Rachel’s strong vocals. Her delivery is excellent and she sounds fantastic on this track. The chorus is perfect and has such a wonderful bright feel to it, “don’t let anything get you down/today the sun is shining.” The Swat-Team remix incorporates the acoustics in the chorus and it gives it a much more vibrant feel. Glide, another Bloodshy & Avant production, is strange yet intriguing. Rachel’s vocals are the reason why I enjoy this track so much. She uses a high tone for the pre-chorus and chorus and her emphasis on the “g” in glide is amusing. The lyrics could be better “glide higher than the window” but the chorus is the only part of the song that really suffers from this problem. The album’s lone ballad, Heaven Has To Wait, is a standout. A gorgeous piano melody opens up this song and Rachel’s luscious vocals come in for the verse. I love how the piano changes to a higher tone for the pre-chorus as Rachel begins to sing in a higher tone. For the second verse more instruments are added to the arrangement such as drums, guitars, and strings. Everything is stripped away for the bridge for Rachel to show off her soft vocals. It’s a shame there aren’t any other ballads on the album because Rachel is flawless on this track. More, More, More is a cover of The Andrea True Connection and Rachel’s version is vastly superior to the original. It has a great 80’s disco feel and it’s very catchy. Rachel’s vocals are great, much better than Andrea True’s vocals which I find boring and lacks the energetic feel of the song. This is a great addition to the album. Another favourite of mine is Blue Afternoon. Everything about this track is relaxing and laid-back. It’s one of those songs where you kick back and let the music take you away. The first time I heard the chorus it reminded me of something I’ve heard before and that familiar feeling is the reason why I like this song so much. The jazz influence is wonderful and it gives the song a fresh feel. The chorus is the highlight as Rachel sings in a lovely airy voice. I adore the way she sings “blue afternoon” because her tone becomes higher as she holds the note. Overall, this is a great track. I Got The Money is very mellow and is the type of song you would pop in your car for a road trip. It has a nice R&B vibe and Rachel’s vocals sound great. A nice little tune but it doesn’t hold my interest like the other songs do.

Rachel gets a little sexy for Little Secret. With a funky guitar and some brass this song has an interesting arrangement. The verses are sung in a sexy manner which she does perfectly. During the bridge her vocals take on a stronger tone with her exclaiming “I like it when you do it like that.” Solid opens up with Rachel’s vocals and they sound like they’re coming from a transmission which is followed by her clear vocals. The song shines when it hits the chorus because it’s an absolute blast of energy. Her performance here is fun and I love her voice during the chorus. She carries the energy of the song well with her airy and high vocals. The backing vocals especially her “woahs” and “yeahs” are playful and sexy. The album closes with the dark and sexy Silk. I really like the drum in this track because it has a very dramatic sound. Rachel’s vocals are sultry and she uses a deep and high voice while incorporating whispers into the background. I love the chimes throughout the song because they add a mysterious vibe to it. The bridge is captivating as the music becomes dark and dramatic. It almost sounds like a completely different song but it works and gives the track a little something special.  Sweet Dreams My LA Ex (Bimbo Jones Club Mix), featured on the first release, is a typical remix. It’s filled with generic beats that extend the length and it goes on for far too long. Some Girls (Rhythm Masters Vocal Mix) is a little better as it just adds new elements to the original composition. The effects on her vocals are alright but her voice isn’t as loud as it is in the original.

Conclusion: Rachel Stevens is more than just the pretty face from S Club 7 and she really proves it with her debut album. From start to finish Funky Dory is blast of great pop tunes. There should have been some more ballads because Rachel nailed the one on this album. The only issue I have is that some of the lyrics could have been better but overall it was a fun and enjoyable album. Definitely check this album out because I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like.

Recommended Tracks: Blue Afternoon, Heaven Has To Wait, Breathe In Breathe Out (Swat-Team Version), Funky Dory (Single Version) and Sweet Dreams My LA Ex

Note: The review for Some Girls can be found here.

Rating

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2 Comments »

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  1. Hi, ofcourse I’d like to exchange links^^ I see you already added me, so I’m gonna add your fab blog right away. Keep up your good work, things are starting to look very good! =D

    • Thanks so much! I really appreciate your comment :).


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