2008 U.S. edition of the sophomore album (entitled N.B. for the International market) by the Australian singing sensation features different artwork, track sequence and eight newly recorded tracks specifically for the US release, 'Love Like This' (featuring Sean Kingston,) Pocketful of Sunshine, Angel (all three are/will be US radio singles,) Happy, Put Your Arms Around Me, Happy, Piece of Your Heart and Freckles. Pocketful Of Sunshine is very much reflective of this 'different place' that she is in now, proving that affairs of the heart, although difficult, make for excellent song-writing material. Each track on the album explores a varying stage of the 'relationship' story, and the issues, experiences, and processes that come with these stages. Natasha worked with a stellar team of talent including Mike Elizondo of Eminem/Dre/50 Cent fame, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Greg Kurstin (Beck, Lily Allen), previous collaborators Steve Kipner, Andrew Frampton, Wayne Wilkins, Danielle Brisebois and Wayne Rodrigues and long time Madonna collaborator Pat Leonard. Sony/BMG. 2008.
On Pocketful of Sunshine
, Natasha Bedingfield sounds like Joss Stone only bouncier. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, the brightness and buoyancy of this record will keep it spinning long after CDs that shoot for hipster credibility--with funked-up bells and fancy production whistles--have been deposited back into their jewel cases for all eternity. Check it out: "Love Like This," with Sean Kingston, puts its hands in the air for puppy love--the kind that'll bring you back to your "middle school kiss"--and a couple of other songs follow the youth-themed suit. "Backyard" time-travels to an idyllic childhood, while "Freckles" fleshes out, for the benefit of the insecure, the beauty in imperfections. Elsewhere, Bedingfield is her indomitably upbeat self. Opener "Put Your Arms Around Me" reeks of reassurance and tenderness. "Happy" implores would-be gloom-and-doomers to snap out of it, and while the title track doesn't wander all that far lyrically, it benefits from a chanted verse brimmed in (positive) attitude. The vibe, overall, is beach-blanket warm and blue-sky ready. Sunshine
earns a pocketful, if not more, of pop-music props. --Tammy La Gorce