It’s been a long, bumpy road to Leona Lewis‘s upcoming album, Glassheart–and now, it’s finally paying off.
The snags began well over a year ago with the release of “Collide,” the genuinely incredible lead single from her forthcoming third studio album Glassheart, which was based around a sample of Avicii‘s “Fade Into Darkness” (which in and of itself contains a sample of Penguin Cafe Orchestra.)
Upon its release, the Swedish DJ’s label claimed that the sample was done without permission, and Lewis unwittingly found herself trapped in a very public, very nasty legal catfight, settled only after Lewis’ label quickly retitled the track as a joint release. (Despite the legal fuckery, the track still soared to #4 on the UK Singles Chart and notched a #1 on the US Billboard Club Songs chart.)
Then, the album–originally due out in November of 2011–was pushed back for an entire year.
After several months of additional recording, Leona is finally starting anew: A few weeks ago, the powerhouse vocalist premiered the soaring midtempo “Trouble,” the second single from Glassheart, which was penned by Emeli Sande and produced by Naughty Boy and Fraser T Smith.
“Trouble” is fine (note: thoroughly just “fine”–it doesn’t really reach new heights), but it’s the newly premiered title track from her upcoming album that may very well save the entire campaign.
“Glassheart” is a brooding, dubstep-laden torch track produced by faithful “Bleeding Love” hitmaker Ryan Tedder and DJ Frank E. The track builds slowly, a la Leona’s own “Collide,” and vaguely recalls the moody electronica of Katharine McPhee‘s “Touch Me” (which Tedder also produced.) “Baby, I’m staring at a piece of us, shattered on the sidewalk,” Lewis laments.
As the dubbed-up verses fade away, Leona’s heaven-sent vocals take to the forefront: “Promise that we’ll never fall apart and I’ll love you with my glassheart,” Leona solemnly swears. And then, just as quickly, the track dives into an utterly filthy beat breakdown, bringing Rihanna‘s “Where Have You Been” to mind.
Production aside, the lyrics are truly gorgeous, especially during the song’s bridge: “My heart is beating and so was yours/We threw each other down on the floor/My heart is breaking, it’s made of glass/’Cause anything that’s good never, ever lasts.”
“Glassheart” has just the right mixture of sweat-drenched House beats du jour, killer lyricism and melodic crooning by the talented chanteuse to appeal to a huge audience, making this a major knockout all around.
It’s a smash, quite simply.