Far more successful in the U.K. than in her native America, big-voiced Anastacia's self-professed sprock sound has helped her first three albums to sell over a million copies each. Her self-titled previous record was her biggest to date, thanks to a harder-edged sound that often recalled the dramatic rock/pop of Evanescence. However, Heavy Rotation, her first studio album in nearly five years, tones down the guitars in favor of a more eclectic collection of songs that take in everything from glossy soul-funk to acoustic pop and even techno. Lead single "I Can Feel You" misleadingly suggests that this doesn't seem like a particularly wise decision. Written by man of the moment Ne-Yo, its promising opening funky beats and squelchy synths are let down by such a non-event of a chorus that it's hard to believe it's penned by the same man behind Rihanna's recent infectious chart hits. A prime example of using a star name just for the sake of it, it's arguably the most underwhelming comeback song of the year. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that the rest of the album is packed with potential hit singles written by a team of equally accomplished songwriters. Lester Mendez (Shakira, Enrique Iglesias) works his magic on the delightfully retro soul stomper "The Way I See It"; the Guy Chambers collaborations "In Summer" and "All Fall Down" perfectly combine his trademark melodic guitar pop sound with Anastacia's powerhouse vocals; and the Rodney Jerkins-produced title track is a thumping Hi-NRG floor-filler that recalls Britney Spears' recent electro reinvention. Of course, no Anastacia album would be complete without a big power ballad, and the piano-led "Never Gonna Love Again" certainly doesn't disappoint in the overblown and overwrought department. But despite its occasional lapses into schmaltz and generic R&B, Heavy Rotation is still a charming and versatile record that has her unmistakable voice and personality stamped all over it.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien