Petula Clark, best known for her most recognisable single ‘Downtown’, released her first album 57 years ago. An incredible amount of time to have remained relevant in today’s cutthroat music industry. Her new album, Lost In You, is her first in quite some time. It seems that Petula hasn’t lost the knack of producing a hit or two as well as reinterpreting huge singles for other artists.
Opening track ‘Cut Copy Me’ is an electro, moody, Auto-Tuned statement that perhaps the radio friendly singles of the 60s are being left far behind. There is an element of Cher’s Believe era reinvention going on here, but the dance beats are nowhere to be seen, which is a bold choice that works really well. The title track, ‘Lost In You’, is a simple piano ballad and Clark’s voice shows real soul through age and a depth of emotion – a truly beautiful effort.
Clark’s reworking of Gnarls Barkely’s ‘Crazy’ is an improvement on the original. A reorchestration, some lyrical tweaks and a shift in tense and the song has a whole new life and meaning that the original didn’t have – something which all great reinterpretations should achieve.
‘Never Enough’ shows Clark dabbling in country-pop, which is a clever choice seeing as it is such a lucrative market. This track really works, it’s fun, catchy, and her voice, due to the audible evidence of age and experience, suits the style perfectly.
The centerpiece of Lost In You, a new version of ‘Downtown’ is a great addition to the phenomenon that was that single. It’s a stripped-back ballad, with melancholic organs, a rich piano section and stunning strings. It’s incredible how a song, when sung by the voice of youth hailing the brilliance of a city’s vibrancy and enjoyment, can be completely changed in tone when sung by the voice of age and experience. The rerecording is filled with wisdom and the shift in tone seems to act almost as a warning to the youthful type of person Clark used to be. The lights are bright, but beware. Brilliant.
Some great album tracks follow as well as more traditional covers of Elvis’ ‘Love Me Tender’ and John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, which are both great additions to the album.
The album closes with the defiant ‘I Won’t Care’. Probably a message to all those who might have negative things to say about the album, the potential chart position it achieves and all those who have doubted her over the last sixty years.
Though Clark’s voice is clearly heavily edited and the vocals are patched together in some places from various takes, this collection of songs is really enjoyable. At the age of eighty, she deserves every success for demonstrating such dedication to her art.
Go Get It: ‘Lost In You’ / ‘Cut Copy Me’ / ‘Downtown (New Version)’
Forget It: ‘He Loves and She Loves’ / ‘Reflections’