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CD Reviews: Avoid it - WAFER THIN; (BUT THAT'S JUST THE MUSIC).

Byline: Gavin Martin

MICHELLE McMANUS

The Meaning Of Love HIt is certainly a bold title and a thoroughly misleading one. How unfair to promise that the 23-year-old Pop Idol winner's debut album can offer what has eluded countless writers, philosophers, musicians and moviemakers for centuries.

Hopeful pundits have suggested that the Pop Idol brand is waning, but Will Young still sells and Jordan has done her best to give Gareth Gates all the publicity a young man can handle. Ms McManus is the latest weapon in the PR strategy to hoodwink us into thinking all is fair in their quest for world domination.

Michelle is a good-natured, likeable lass who doesn't conform to the waif-like image of the average Pop Princess. Never let it be said that Pop Idol propagates the anorexic principle of pop success - their sponsors wouldn't like it.

And here's the real twist - Michelle can actually sing! But that hardly matters as she has been lumbered with some of the most horrifying material ever fashioned by pop hacks such as Gary Barlow, Cathy Dennis and once-credible producer Stephen Lipson.

The intro to All This Time sounds like a big ship is being launched, slow and stately into the breach. Watch out, a pop Titanic is approaching. There are countless icebergs along the way as Michelle bravely attempts to give her meaning (of love or anything else) to lyrics that will have listeners reaching for the sick-bag.

But reaching that sick-bag may not be possible as zombie melodies lull the audience into a trance. It is the sort of music that makes Radio 2 sound like a radical, cutting-edge station. But it's the songwriting that really astounds - drowned in cliche, seemingly knocked off with barely a thought, sure in the knowledge that another commission (or production line pop star) will be along quicker than you can ask, "Who will ever wipe the smile off Simon Cowell's kisser?"

Michelle seemed to be getting ready for a big disappointment on cd:UK when she said if her career failed she'd happily go back home, contented that she'd had a great adventure.

So let her hold tight and enjoy the ride while it lasts. But with songs like these she might have to grit her teeth along the way.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2004
Words:378
Previous Article:CD Reviews: NEW SINGLES.
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