Katherine Jenkins

Rejoice

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Come Christmas time, and there's another album, the fifth, from the Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins. This time she mixed it up a little with a bit of classical, "Sancta Maria" from Mascagni's Callellera Rusticana and "Be Still My Soul" from Sibelius' Finlandia, a little bit of show biz with "Secret Love" from Calamity Jane and "Somewhere" from West Side Story, a little bit of pop cover versions with "I Who Have Nothing," originally made famous by Shirley Bassey, and Seal's "Kiss from a Rose," and finally a few new songs especially written for her, pop songs with two contributions each from Steve Mac & Wayne Hector, better known for their work with Westlife and Il Divo, and Gary Barlow who contributed the songs "Shout in Silence" and "Viva Tonight." Jenkins was being marketed by Universal Classics and Jazz at this point as a known name, an artist whom they would expect to chart in the Top Ten with every album, and Rejoice didn't disappoint, hitting number three in its first week, her highest placing on the charts to that point. However, it did disappoint some of her core fans who had been expecting more with her classical arias and crossover songs sung in her mezzo soprano voice, with which she had been achieving more and more success as the years went by. What wasn't expected was a crossover into the pop market. Not that she'd joined the ranks of Charlotte Church and released a full-on dance pop album, for even the new tracks were beautifully sung pieces, sounding every bit the arias as the Sibelius and Mascagni songs, and while she had been on this crossover path for several years, covering "Everything I Do" and "Be My Love" on Serenade, and "Music of the Night," "Amazing Grace," and "Over the Rainbow" on Living a Dream, they appeared to suit her voice more than the selection on Rejoice, particularly "Kiss from a Rose," which really didn't work, and "Somewhere" which for anybody who has seen the film West Side Story (and there are countless millions of them) will know, came at one of the most emotionally charged moments in film as Tony lay dying, but one would never associate this scene with the version of the tune sung by Jenkins. And the songs by Gary Barlow, as good a songwriter as he was, were not two of his best. Nevertheless, the supermarket traffic pushed Rejoice high into the charts, and Jenkins appeared sexier on the cover art, too, with a Mariah Carey style, flowing hairstyle, and what one would presume was an off the shoulder, strapless dress (as all one could see was bare shoulders). Compare that to her earlier work and the polo neck sweater on Premiere.

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