“Heavy Love is pop music at its finest and a delightful welcome back to Louise. It is a challenge to imagine any other pop album being quite this good in 2020.”
Louise Redknapp was a formidable force in the pop world throughout the nineties and early noughties with one album as part of girl-group Eternal and three solo albums to her name by 2000. However, after 2000’s Elbow Beach there would be a near twenty year pause in releasing music, something which fourth studio album Heavy Love thankfully provides a solution to. Despite this hiatus, Louise returns with an album of tremendous proportions, shining through its slick R&B pop production, Louise’s open songwriting, and its impressive awareness of the contemporary pop scene.
Opening with Stretch, a slow-burning and sultry pop anthem which upon its March release signalled that Louise was not playing around with this comeback. This is furthered by the Clean Bandit produced Lead Me On – a tropical dancefloor ready Summer anthem, and another immediate standout on the set thanks to its engaging narrative tale, the singer’s warm vocals and infectious steel drum like backing . Yet the depths of Heavy Love’s emotional core begins to reveal themself in Breaking Back Together in which Louise’s soulful vocals are supported by Lyanna Austin’s warming backing vocals – helping this track shine as an uplifting post-heartbreak anthem.
Not the Same showcases Louise as a musician clearly adoring her craft. Her vocals are confident and heartfelt in this rousing anthem which blends gospel sounds with slick contemporary production from Skylar Adams. This is followed by Small Talk, a minimal electronic anthem that allows Louise to delve into her marriage break-up in the track’s starkly honest lyricism, noting “We used to be in love, we used to be inseparable, now it’s a little awkward it’s like we’ve never met before.” The uplifting Hurt follows the twists and turns of a romantic relationship, shining in its elegant, almost symphonic pop production.
Hammer provides shimmering dancefloor ready R&B pairing Louise’s smooth vocals with upbeat, synth-soaked production – resulting in an intoxicating blend. A cover version of Jojo’s Wonder Woman feels like a seductive companion piece to the earlier Stretch with the effective, sparse production allowing Louise to shine. Hands on the Sink is a moody R&B number that takes the album into darker territory, an atmospheric anthem building to a chorus racked with a frustrated emotion. The LDN Noise produced Straight to My Heart takes Heavy Love back to the dancefloor with its upbeat pop production it is an elegant and silky disco throwback with a grandiose soaring chorus. The album comes to a close with the masterful Steve Anderson produced Wrong – a sumptuous piano ballad, racked with a heartfelt gravitas in which Louise’s vocals blend with the delicate piano and string melodies producing a staggeringly beautiful end product.
Heavy Love presents an artist at the top of their game – stylistically ambitious in its musical scope, refreshingly honest in its songwriting and produced with an immaculate polish. Heavy Love is pop music at its finest and a delightful welcome back to Louise. It is a challenge to imagine any other pop album being quite this good in 2020.