Liberty X

X

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Released after their popularity had started to wane and just before the group decided to call it a day, X is unfortunately not a swan song reflective of Liberty X's capabilities. Unlike their debut, which managed to capture the pop/R&B zeitgeist effortlessly, X is bogged down by dated production, lifeless ballads, and cliched attempts at hip-hop. Take "Dirty Cash," for example. While their previous covers have breathed new life into old material, their version of the Stevie V. classic is weak, uninspiring, and removes everything that made the song an anthem in the first place. The rest fares little better. "In My Bed" sounds like leftovers from an early Destiny's Child album, "Move Ya Body" is a woeful attempt at ragga, and the whole group sounds unfocused and uninterested throughout the album. One look at the track list only proves how little faith has been invested in X, with four of the band's biggest hits being tacked on at the end, presumably to boost sales. But instead of attempting to celebrate their pop triumphs, it only serves to prove how much they are trading on former glories. However, it's not without its merits. Lead single "Song for Lovers" is a joyous, uplifting, gospel track aided by a rather random preacher-esque rap by Rev Run from Run-D.M.C., "It's OK," written by promising U.K. R&B diva Terri Walker is a sophisticated, understated, soul ballad, while the title track is a decent stab at the short-lived crunk genre. But three tracks from ten isn't a good return. The band is certainly one of the better pop groups of the early noughties, but instead of going out with a bang, they've gone out with a bit of a damp squib.

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