Single Of The Week 23/01/98

Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.

Natalie Imbruglia

Because I lived through a time when Kylie Minogue was the biggest star in Australian music, I am naturally a little suspicious of records by former Neighbours cast members. This is no slight on Kylie (a pop goddess if ever there was one), but merely on the fact that her success led practically everyone who ever appeared on the show to release a record. When Jason Donovan comes across as the second most talented singer ever to have been a resident of Ramsay Street, you know that something is going wrong.

And yet these records retain a perverse fascination, and I find it very hard not to buy them when I see them in discount racks or second-hand stores. As a result, I have a video with the complete works of Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2, as well as the infamous Twins single 'All Mixed Up'. These, however, survive on kitsch appeal rather than any kind of pop 'cred'.

When, in the middle of 1997, I read that former Neighbours starlet and one time David Schwimmer shag Natalie Imburglia was releasing a record, I suspected very much that it would have fallen into the tacky (post-Kylie) rather than terrific (like Kylie) category. So I was surprised as anyone when 'Torn' began getting blanket radio play and I really, really liked it. Not so much that I bought the company, but enough so I bought the single. It's a well-constructed, guitar-driven ballad of love and loss, and actually our Nat's voice reminds me of Kylie's more recent efforts a lot.

I was nonetheless not particularly surprised when the British music press revealed that the song was originally recorded by a Danish singer, Lis Sorensen, and had in fact beeen recorded by a Swedish singer in English a couple of years ago, using the same backing track as the hit version. Given that, like Billboard's Fred Bronson, I have a strong affection for Scandinavian pop, its appeal became even more obvious. Whatever way you look at it, though, it's a damned catchy song (and came in at #8 in the list of Britain's 40 most successful singles last year).

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