After scoring a decent run of hits with two enjoyable but unremarkable Euro dance albums including three cover versions, Kate Ryan set her sights on the big leagues for her third release. Alive is notably less club-oriented than its predecessors, instead aiming for a modern pop sound. Lead single "Je T'Adore" was entered for the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, and with Ryan one of Belgium's biggest musical exports and one of the biggest Europe-wide stars competing that year, she was instantly placed as one of the hit favorites. A strong, hooky pop song with an infectious chorus and a confident vocal, there was much controversy when Ryan failed to even qualify for the grand finals, failing to make the top ten in the semi-finals held just before the big night. Nevertheless the song was another hit all over the continent. Follow-up singles "Alive" and "All for You" were also appealing confections, but neither made as much of an impact, and the album was Ryan's worst-selling to date. This is a shame because it is by far her strongest, lacking the filler that weighed down her first two. Indeed almost any of the 13 tracks could have been strong singles in their own right, something that could certainly not have been said of Different or Stronger. The tone is generally upbeat, with Ryan finally developing into a pop singer of some character. She haughtily dismisses unworthy lovers on the percolating "Tapping on the Table," and the contemptuous "Nothing." "Imagine" is the lost smash of the album, with a commanding, seductive delivery and a pulsating tune worthy of Kylie Minogue's best late-'00s singles. Closing track "The Kiss I Miss," a pretty tribute to Ryan's deceased mother, is somewhat out of step with the tone of the rest of the album, but goes down as one of Ryan's better self-penned ballads. All in all, Alive is an underrated set which, until she releases a Greatest Hits, should be the first port of call for any new fans of the singer.
AllMusic Review by John Lucas