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Artist: Natasha Bedingfield
Label: Epic

If Natasha Bedingfield's last name sounds familiar, perhaps you recall her big brother, Daniel. He helped introduce U.S. audiences to
U.K. two-step dance rhythms with "Gotta Get Through This" and a couple other Stateside singles that translated from his Great British

The siblings were once a duo: DNA Algorhithm, who performed DC Talk covers alongside their originals. In a situation paralleling Michael and Janet Jackson's chart tussles, a few tracks on her debut project, Unwritten, have hit big in Blimey (she was born in England, Daniel in New Zealand) and elsewhere internationally. Has she got what it takes to crack the U.S.?

So far, so good with first domestic single "These Words." One of those love songs that could be as much about a guy as God, but in a
good way, it's brass-stabbed hip-hop beat punctuates her admission of being inarticulate at love. And it's about time Shelley and Keats got name-checked in a pop hit, yes?

Elsewhere, she's all about giving hope without moral compromise to "Single" listeners or those whose life potential remains "Unwritten."
In an unwittingly cheesier turn, Bedingfield lets us know that "Size Matters." It's subtitled "Big Up The Love," and the size that
matters is that of your heart. Thanks for clearing that up, ma'am.

She's also compelling when she's most vulnerable. "I Bruise Easily" could easily fit on the next Sade album with its jazzy soul underpunnings. "Wild Horses," a U.S.-only bonus track, finds her longing for freedom amid classy balladic strigs and piano.

The harder she rocks, however, the less convincing she becomes. "If You're Gonna" suffers from a overly forceful gumption, and guest
rapper Estelle going on about karma in "Drop Me In the Middle" heightens one of Bedinglfield's lesser numbers.

Bedingfield nevertheless hits more than she misses, and Unwritten portends a career of greater future consistency.

Jamie Lee Rake  August 19, 2005



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