It’s just over two weeks until Leona Lewis‘s long-awaited third studio album Glassheart hits stores on October 15.
After being delayed by a year, we were just a little bit intrigued to hear what X Factor‘s prized diva had been working on and, to our relief, we weren’t disappointed.
Like ‘Bleeding Love’ and ‘Happy’ before it, this is Leona’s big, emotive power-ballad of an opener. It’s dark, heart-tugging and pure class.
‘Un Love Me’
Light Snow Patrol-esque guitar plugs and a thudding bass beat serve as the backdrop for Leona’s intricate falsetto, which is allowed to take centre stage. The production is subtle, but the result is epic.
Weirdly, the intro has a ‘Bleeding Love’ organ, before some ‘Better In Time’ piano comes in. However, ‘Lovebird’ develops into a mid-tempo ballad that centres around the catchy hook: “Your lovebird’s flying away/ And my heart’s been stuck in a cage/ I’ve gotta sing my/ Song so pretty, dum-dum dee-dee.”
This is Leona’s electronic serenade. Her voice towers above a crash of dubstep wobbles with break beats, before it pulsates into a techno finale. If this were a visual spectacle, it would be green lasers in a gothic castle.
It begins with Leona singing over a rotating piano riff, before an orchestra of strings flourish while she chants: “Fire! It’s only fire!” It results in a hippie, gospel number that sits comfortably with the star’s previous offerings.
‘I To You’
“You are love, you are sin/ You’ll alway be everything, everything/ To me,” Leona declares while backed by a band of swooping strings. On the first couple of listens this feels like an album track, but a very good one nonetheless.
‘Shake You Up’
The cutest voice-over clip of Leona asking “Can you turn the music up a little bit please?” plays before Darkchild’s ’80s pop gold ensues. It’s packed with groovy synths, an addictive hook and is the kind of mid-tempo hit we imagine a young Whitney would’ve recorded.
‘Stop The Clocks’
An electronic-lite love song about spending an infinite amount of time with her beau, the track is a nice head-nodding ditty that could easily slip onto previous album Echo.
An ear-pleasing piano riff that slightly resembles church bells is joined by one of the most direct tones and clearest diction we’ve heard from Leona. What’s more, it’s not the kind of Ryan Tedder collaboration we’ve come to expect from LeLe; hip-hop beats and attitude give it an almost Rihanna quality.
‘When It Hurts’
A pleasant piano-led ballad with crashing beats and some light electric guitar riffs serve as a backdrop to Leona’s claims that “you love it when it hurts”.
DJ Frank E has sprinkled the title track with pumping club beats and chart-friendly dubstep breakdowns. It acts as a welcome change in pace during the latter stages of the record and definitely grows on repeated listens.
Delicate piano twinkles underlie Leona’s rich lower register, before she is let loose with soaring falsetto over added crashing echoes and strings before the song’s end. The message centres around a loved one being irreplaceable (“No match, no match, no match for your fingerprint/ No substitute, no other you”).
After only a couple of spins, Glassheart already feels like Leona’s strongest collection to date. There are plenty of singles to be lifted here, so our only hope is that Syco doesn’t deliberate this time around when it comes to future cuts.