Everybody Doesn't

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Music fans, meet Amanda, the latest teen queen to descend upon 2001's dance and pop arena. While you might be quick to dismiss her as a wannabe -- especially after hearing the disc's trite title track "Everybody Doesn't," a bouncy R&B-like number á la Destiny's Child, Jennifer Lopez, and Brandy -- don't. Barring this album's one faux pas, Everybody Doesn't is a formidable pop and dance collection that buries bubble-gummers Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore. Christina Aguilera, another pop-queen contemporary, on the other hand, does a have more powerful voice, but what Amanda has over all of these artists is Murlyn Music, the talented Swedish production team featuring BAG, Arnthor, Bloodshy, and others. Europeans undoubtedly have a unique sound and are more progressive than many of their musical peers on this side of the Atlantic. Hence the fresh, mature, and exciting album that is Everybody Doesn't. This disc is a prime example of a smart, successful, and synergistic collaboration. But, even the musical wizardry of Murlyn Music cannot entirely prevent Amanda from sounding like the teenager she is. On "Not the One [For Me]" and the ballad "If I Open My Heart," which sounds much like a Wild Orchid song, those high notes really reveal the singer's young age. This is not a flaw, however, it is merely an occasional reminder of the teen-queen pack that Amanda will undoubtedly -- thanks to mass marketing -- be corralled into. Innovation is the name of the game on this disc, and several cuts -- such as the fun dance track "Call Me" -- are especially colored with fresh sounds, rhythms, and beats. "The Way I Am" borrows Latin rhythms and acoustic guitars to flavor this impressive contemporary pop song, while the dynamic "Can't Stop My Love" reverberates with a Michael Jackson style, á la "Smooth Criminal," vocally and musically. What a refreshing surprise Everybody Doesn't is. While the disc doesn't revolutionize dance and pop music, it does, however, inject sorely needed new life and finesse into the genre and ups the ante on the current crop of teen queens. Nice work.

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