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on May 8, 2000
Before this CD, I had never heard of Fordham's music. However, I accidentally came across this CD and I was immediately entralled by Forham's music. This CD is a snapshot of life -- Fordham paints for us the vignettes of life through these 15 tracks. She neither hides the pain or the joys or the complexities of life.
For instance, she sings about the complexities of a relationship in "Girlfriend." "Girlfriend" is a cheating song told from the viewpoint of the other woman. You can hear the intensity of the pain of this tune through Fordham's lower registered smokey vocals.
On the other hand, she celebrates the joys of falling in love in "Falling Forward." "It Was Nothing You Said" is Fordham's tip on how to maintain a vital relationship. "Kid," a brand new track recorded for this CD, is an exhortation to teenagers to be themselves and not to succumb to peer pressure.
Fordham takes the time to paint these vignettes of life with great care. "Mahattan Skyline" is nothing short of breathtaking when you can almost "see" the song personified as she paints it for us through her voice. "Porcelain" and "Lock and Key" are other examples of how Fordham demonstrates that she's a great crafter of words and images.
"Love Moves in Mysterious Ways," a lush power ballad, puts Fordham in the league of superstars like Whitney Houston or Celine Dion. "Where Does the Time Go" is another example of a more commercial pop ballad. Curtis Stigers in fact, complements Fordham very well.
Most of these tracks are written by Fordham. Unlike other songwriter-singers' albums, Fordham deals with a great variety of issues performed over a variety of tempoes. One thing is for sure -- these songs were not penned overnight, they are testaments of a poet who has lived and experienced the joys and pain of life.
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VINE VOICEon June 22, 2004
Julia Fordham's "Collection" spans her first ten years as a renowned singer, like many for whom subtlety is her greatest virtue, went all but unrecognized in America. When her first album was released in 1988, critics clamored over its honesty and purity, and many compared her voice favorably to Annie Lennox and Anita Baker. The song "Happy Ever After" became an international hit and the video established Julia in America as a singer songwriter to watch.
Her second (and best) album, "Porcelain," continued in that vein, including another near hit in "Manhattan Skyline." It was during this tour that I saw her twice, one of those a showcase at the top of the World Trade Center where the audience included such admirers as Sting. Her vocal and expressive talents on stage won over a signifigant following, but despite some heavy muscle on behalf of her record company, the album only sold a modest amount. When the third album was being prepared, Julia recorded her first outside song, "Love Moves In Mysterious Ways." A great ballad written by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford of "Footloose" fame and produced by Peter Asher (then riding high as a producer of Joe Jackson and 10,000 Maniacs), it was attached to the movie "The Fisherman's Wife." It was supposed to be the song that would lift Julia's "Swept" off the launch pad and make her an American Star. But when "Fisherman's Wife" failed to lure in movie goers and the song disappeared, it also seemed like Julia's record company lost interest.
That left the very good "Falling Forward" and introspective "East West" albums to fend for themselves. As the songs here from those two discs suggest, both are worthy albums. Producer and bassist Larry Klien's work on "Falling Forward" in particular is noteworthy; listen to how he showcases Julia on "I Can't Help Myself." Of the two songs recorded expressly for this CD, "It Was Nothing That You Said" ("it was everything you didn't say") continued to show that Julia was an expert in capturing emotions to music.
I heartily recommend this CD to fans of both Norah Jones and Dido.
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on July 23, 2002
Julia Fordham is a true undiscovered treasure. Blessed with an exceptional voice and golden pen, this lady has talent to burn. This collection of songs are a great introduction to her work. All the favorites from her previous releases are here. My favorite tunes include "Happy Ever After", "Manhattan Skyline", "Girlfriend" and "Love Moves". Julia's approach to music reminds me of when Anita Baker first came on the scene - A true singing talent with great song writing capabilities. This is a wonderful collection of songs. If you like this, you can't go wrong checking out "Porcelain" and her first disc, "Julia Fordham." She has a wonderful gift. Peace!
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on July 11, 2000
You cannot mistake this voice. It's lush, and jazzy and sometime soaked in misery. Other times its bouncy and full of light. The songs that matter here are "Lock and Key" (one of the best songs of the 20th century), "Killing Me Slowly," and "Manhattan Skyline" and "Falling Forward." You really can't compare Julia Fordham with anyone else...she's original. I first heard Julia on the "Porcelain" cd (still her best work)and have been enthralled with her ever since. Do yourself a big favor and buy the greatest hits, then buy the other albums to delve deeper into her amazing singing and songwriting.
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on March 2, 1999
Given the instant accessibility of her recordings, it's a mystery to me why Julia Fordham hasn't caught on more in the pop music world. She's one of the most intelligent songwriters around, and her voice is wonderfully rich and expressive. This compilation collects the highlights from each of Julia's five CDs, adding a few new songs and re-recordings. Listening to 15 songs recorded over a 10 year period, there's a remarkable consistency (strong melodies, lyrical thoughtfulness) that runs through her work. It's hard to please everyone with compilations.....I personally would have swapped the re-recordings out for the inclusion of "Swept" and "Stay"....or some of the wonderful piano demos Julia often released as B-sides. ("Island" comes to mind as a particularly compelling example.) Still, this is a great introduction to a massively underrated talent.
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on May 11, 2002
As an introduction to the late '80s/early '90s female singer/songwriters, this album surpasses everything that rivals it. Whilst it has all of the literacy and beauty that sets most female singer/songwriters apart from the often childish radio "love songs" and the vulgar rap and grunge of teenage radio, it does not possess the difficult themes of many other female singer/songwriters. Indeed, this absence of "mysterious" elements makes Fordham the most "traditional" of her era's singer/songwriters.
Yet, her beautiful, though often painful, voice and unmistakable sense of melody is just delightful to listen to throughout the album, and despite the fact that the lyrical themes are fairly easy to understand, they lack nothing in depth. Fordham's writing has a wonderful sense of capturing the difficulties of unrequited love, and she has such a beautiful voice that none of the songs fail to come home with precision. Her lyrics are always so heartfelt (even if they are often quite sad, even despairing in tone) that one can always identify with the characters in her songs in a way one cannot with most modern singer/songwriters and their often otherworldly themes.
The highlights of the album include the incredibly beautiful and literate "Porcelain", the extremely spare but wonderful "Lock and Key" and "Manhattan Skyline", the later gem "East West", and the movie theme "(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways", which, though the only song on the album Fordham did not write, is just as great as the other songs on the album and adds diversity with its piano and rocking guitar. Almost as impressive are the incredibly sad "I Can't Help Myself" and "Happy Ever After" (which was her only entry onto the Australian charts - though it only reached #83) with its African rhythms.
Julia Fordham has proved herself an unusually talented singer/songwriter with this beautiful collection, which shows that simplicity can produce wonderful music as well as sophistication. Though some nay see Fordham as a "singer/songwriter for those who cannot understand singer/songwriters", this is only a tiny part of the story behind this album. The true story behind this collection is that Fordham has written pehaps the most beautiful and tuneful songs of her era, and has an unrivalled ability to express faithfully the traumas of unrequited love.
If you are familiar with the more "mysterious" singer/songwriters of Fordham's era, this collection is an essential purchase for its wonderful beauty and Fordham's superbly tuneful voice. If you know nothing of the late '80s/early '90s female singer/songwriters, you would be well advised to buy this collection as a perfect introduction to them.
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on May 8, 2014
If I had to introduce someone to Julia Fordhams' music, I would
definitely let them listen to this CD. It contains all her initial hits and
just lets you hear all the wonderful music that made her have such
a cult following from Europe, Asia and the U.S. She has such a
distinct,beautiful voice I can't imagine anyone not loving this CD.
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on June 26, 2001
I stumbled upon this cd on the listening section at Border's bookstore nearby. I take a quick listen and suddenly after a the first 30 seconds of Happy Ever After, I just decided to buy it! It was a treasure to listen to the voice that sings the soul. Pure and tender, tragic and loving, all in the same breath.
What is it that grasps me? The "IT" thing that just click, the feeling that it is going to be my favorite tune for a long time.
Now I am living in another country and I have enjoyed the company of Julia whenever I drive my car and the darkness of the road is passing me by. I once whistled the Happy Ever After tune and my colleague (a girl) just jumped and asked me where I got it. Funny that she was the third persons who acknowledge the tune, considering in this far country nobody play her record on air.
How could they know? I ended up copying the cd for her since there is no copy in the local record stores to be found. What is it about her that really moves the girls? The sincerity, the voice, the tales and of course the remarkable passion that put her in the hearts.
Too bad not much information about her exist, nor the fact that most critics don't even like her. Whatever it is, the truth is always be with the faithful listeners. Like somebody once said, if heaven does exist, there must be angels with a voice like Julia's.
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on December 31, 1998
Julia Fordham at her sublime best. The album also features updated 1998 versions for some of the greatest tracks like "Happy Ever After" and a great reconstruction of "Where Does The Time Go?" with Curtis Stigers. Jules fans will surely treasure this album like Porcelain under Lock and Key. Although I wonder why they didn't include some gems like her version of "Loving You", "Invisible War" and "Someone To Watch Over Me". It would've made "The Julia Fordham Collection" a rare find from East-to-West indeed! Two new songs highlights this release. This CD will keep spinning in your players for years and years to come, something to Fall Forward for. Indeed, Love moves in (mysterious ways)!!!
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After all these years, I'm still amazed that Julia Fordham hasn't gotten the recognition she deserves. Her voice is unmistakable -- going from husky deep tones to soring soprano notes effortlessly. And if her enormous vocal range isn't enough to make you a fan, her intelligent and poetic lyrics ("What chance did I stand? How could I resist? Your American arms and your French kiss?") are sure to win you over.
"The Collection" is an especially good album for first time listeners. There isn't a bad track on the album and it offers a taste of some of her best work to date, including several tracks off her sublime "Porcelain". Three songs are re-worked and two new songs are added making it a worthwhile purchase for those who already have all her albums. And if you don't already have her entire collection, "The Collection" will leave you wanting to more.
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