Zena Gulzar‘s album kicks off with the deceptively quite good title track Do I, which is pretty similar to the All Saints hit Pure Shores. It’s a kind of classy British R&B that might almost make you think this album is going to be more Morcheeba than Jennifer Ellison, but the rest of the album is unfortunately a lot closer to the sound of an ex-soap star doing cheesy dance tunes.
It’s the case of a girl with a reasonable voice being picked up by some music industry svengali (we can only presume) and being told that he’ll make her a star. A few inexperienced songwriters are drafted in to write mindless little ditties that are perfectly suited to live PAs in cheesy nightclubs across the UK. She’d have been better finding herself a band and having a go at being the next Sharleen Spiteri – the vocal similarity is definitely there.
The songs on here are mostly so half-hearted that Billie Piper would have rejected them back in her days of pop stardom. There’s a couple Geri Halliwell might have used for b-sides, but that’s about as high as the quality meter goes on this very unremarkable album.
Naff nineties dance pop is the order of the day, and the lyrics are as cheesy as they come: “Are you an angel sent from up above, Because you’re the kind of stuff that dreams are made of” – pass the bucket, Zeena!
There’s a reasonable voice here and the lead track isn’t terrible, but apart from that there’s little purpose to this CD beyond making a nice blue coaster. It only makes things worse that the sleeve seems to be trying to make excuses for the CD, with descriptions of who wrote and produced the songs, including phrases such as “deserving of it’s place on the album”. For a start, someone needs to check out a copy of Eats Shoots & Leaves, but more hideous than the misplaced apostrophe is the shameless ‘bigging themselves up’ nature of such comments. Have they never heard of letting something good ‘speak for itself’? Or perhaps they were just realistic enough to realise that in this case the music doesn’t really make the grade, and that their only hope is managing to talk a good enough story that no one notices the tunes.
This album probably isn’t bad for a cheaply produced debut, but it still might do more harm than good for Zeena’s future career hopes because it’s just so dated and downright uncool. As sad as it is to say, this will probably be in the bargain bins quicker than you can say big-fish-little-fish-cardboard-box. Already hammered dance fans will throw their glowsticks around to this in the cheaper Ibiza discotheques, but sober they’ll only be disappointed by it.