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Single Review: Leona Lewis – Trouble (feat. Childish Gambino)

Photo: Facebook / Luuk Va  Loon

Would you believe me if i said that Leona Lewis, notorious horse lover and the very woman that entered into a court case that ended with the words ‘music is the answer’, was straddling a new track about how much of a rebel she is? Well these things are what we like to call ‘facts’ and the surprises don’t stop there; Leona may not be the first artist you’d call up if you have a song that is a little too dark to fit in with your own material, but Emeli Sande’s team did exactly that (kinda…) and the brooding ‘Trouble’ is attempting to single-handedly salvage Lewis’ career from the pits of the pop world that many have relegated her to.

Anyway, before we go any further, let’s just admit that we overreacted with the whole ‘Collide’ thing. No, it wasn’t as successful as ‘Happy’ or ‘Bleeding Love’ (especially not ‘Bleeding Love’), but it didn’t do too badly commercially and had she not been plagued with the Avicii drama, it might’ve been looked upon a little more kindly. Even so, we find Ms. Lewis at the integral part of her musical life where it all goes extremely right or terribly wrong – the moment where she decides who she is as an artist. To give her credit, she had a pretty sturdy career set ahead of her, should she have decided to stick with the ballads but a taste of the upbeat on sophomore album ‘Echo’ sparked a desire to do something a little more exciting.

‘Trouble’ is everything that ‘Collide’ should have been. Now, that is not an attempt to shade an underrated track – ‘Collide’ is fantastic, but ‘Trouble’ on the other hand, is catchy, sultry and powerful; maintaining enough drama to sit well with those expecting a Leona ballad, but also pacifying those wanting something more innovative. It fits perfectly between old Leona and new – an appropriate segue that eases us into accepting a more unpredictable output.

Going back to the ‘sultry’ comment, ‘Trouble’ oozes it. It manages the tricky task of bringing in a guest vocalist that truly adds something to the tune instead of simply widening the potential audience. The key to being an impressive vocalist involves holding back just as much as belting out and Lewis’ vocals prove that she is every bit the diva – she compliments the song as opposed to oversinging it. In fact, the whole affair is rather subdued and it works so well.

Team Lewis have really come up with the goods this time around. ‘Trouble’ is a stunning arrangement, taking one of the UK’s finest vocalists and teaming her with the commercially and critically acclaimed Sande to produce a current and invigorating anthem that Leona desperately needed. It’s success is yet to be decided, but the fact that Leona has stuck with the mentality of doing something a little out of the box gives high hopes for the third opus ‘Glassheart’. Next stop, X-Factor guest slot.

Photo: Facebook / Luuk Van Loon
Words: Simon McMurdo

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