Someone call the police! Dannii's amazing breasts have been vandalised and I demand the culprit be brought to justice! I was absolutely ecstatic when my package of Dannii goodies arrived from the UK this afternoon but my joy quickly turned into outrage and disgust when I noticed the cover of "Unleashed". Dannii's heavenly jugs have been covered up! Compare the picture above to the actual cover (below). Who would be stupid enough to hide Dannii's two most famous assets? Warner Music could have at least had the decency to fix up the picture properly. This looks like it was done by a drunk 12 year old with a black crayon!
Now that I've got that off my chest, I can focus on the music. The cover of "Unleashed" might be hideously disfigured but the music is fabulous. Dannii's unreleased rubbish continues to astound me. The new songs on "Unleashed" are shiny, pop gems of the highest quality. I've only had the chance to listen to "Unleashed" a couple of times but my first impression is that I prefer the unreleased material from "Club Disco", which is a surprise because I generally prefer Dannii's output with Warner Music to her AATW material. The new tracks on "Club Disco" are all vintage Dannii, while "Unleashed" finds Dannii in a more experimental mood. The music is less polished and Dannii dabbles in several different genres including R'n'B! "Unleashed" isn't as perfect as "Club Disco" but it's an intriguing glimpse into one of the most weird and wonderful periods of Dannii's illustrious career. Here's my track by track review:
1. All I Wanna Do (Innocent Girl Mix) - 8/10
A great remix of a classic single. I still have visions of Dannii rolling around in bed with that pink phone. Brilliance!
2. Blame It On The Music - 8.5/10
A very early collaboration with Roger Sanchez and Terry "Tezza" Ronald from 2002 that holds up amazingly well. Roger's "Do You Believe Me Now?" was one of the highlights of "Club Disco" and "Blame It On The Music" is another gem. Dannii needs to hire this man to produce her next album instead of fucking around with the usual losers!
3. Spend Your Love On Me - 7.5/10
The first of several Random Music productions on the album. Random Music have produced tracks for poptastic acts like No Angels and Amy Diamond but, disturbingly, they also boast about writing tracks for Shannon Noll and Dulta on their website. "Spend Your Love On Me" is a strange track that combines urban and dance elements with a certain degree of success. I love Dannii's R'n'B adventures ("Work", "Don't Wanna Take This Pain" and "Get Into You") but this is missing a certain something. Like a chorus. It strikes me as a grower.
4. Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling (Jewels & Stone 7" Mix) - 8/10
Jewels & Stone have a Minogue connection that spans 14 years when Barry Stone remixed Kylie's "Celebration". They specialise in bright, shiny remixes and this is no exception. Great fun.
5. Going Going Gone - 6.5/10
Another Random Music production that sounds like something the Backstreet Boys rejected in 1998. This is my least favourite song on the album. It's not awful by any means but "Going Going Gone" has no hook to speak of and I'm not particularly taken with the robotic vocals. An interesting experiment.
6. Everything I Wanted (Metro 7 Inch Mix) - 7.5/10
The best version of my least favourite Dannii single. It's a good song but "Everything I Wanted" (and "All I Wanna Do" for that matter) don't sit well with the other tracks. Fun but unnecessary.
7. Undeniable - 9/10
"Undeniable" is the album's biggest surprise. Only included when "Karma Is A Bitch" and "Fear Of Flying" were cut at the last minute, I expected "Undeniable" to be the bottom of the barrel. Instead, the song is a gorgeously produced slow jam that wouldn't sound out of place on a Beyonce album. This is by far the most successful R'n'B attempt on "Unleashed" and one of Dannii's most unusual offerings. A future fan favourite.
8. No Romeo - 9/10
Written by Hannah Robinson and Pascal Gabriel, this was one of the most anticipated tracks on "Unleashed" for me. This doesn't quite match the brilliant tracks Pascal has written for Kylie ("Tightrope", "Your Love" and "No Better Love") but "No Romeo" is a cute little R'n'B influenced pop gem. This is the kind of fun track that Janet Jackson used to make until she started exclusively singing about her cunt. "No Romeo" would have made a fine single.
9. Hide And Seek (Thriller Jill Original Radio Mix) - 9.5/10
Apparently, "Hide & Seek" was once considered as the lead single for "Neon Nights" before eventually appearing as one of Dannii's most unusual B-sides. I love this version of "Hide & Seek", it's trance-tastic! After a string of bizarre R'n'B/pop hybrids, it's something of a relief to hear a club stormer. I love the crazy horns and vocoder effects. Exceptional!
10. Hurt In Love - 8/10
One of the most recent tracks to be included on "Unleashed", "Hurt In Love" is fucking strange. It starts out as a stomping dance anthem before slowing right down to become a trippy electro ballad - and then speeds right back up for the final 30 seconds. I'm not sure what to make of this - it's kind of weird and wonderful but listening to "Hurt In Love" too often might bring on some kind of seizure. It's different and I think I like it.
11. Who Do You Love Now? (Riva's Bora Bora Edit) - 9/10
One of my all time favourite Dannii anthems, "Who Do You Love Now?" is about as close as you can get to pop/dance perfection. This remix isn't as good as the original edit but it's still pretty amazing.
12. Put The Needle On It (Cicada Vocal Edit) - 10/10
A dark and dirty re-working of "Put The Needle On It" can only be a good thing as this amazing remix proves. Cicada breathe new life into this classic song, giving it an unexpected edge. I can't get enough of this, it's just fantastic! Check out some of Cicada's own brilliant music on their myspace.
13. Come & Get It (Alternative Radio Cut) - 9/10
The original "Come & Get It" is a pop masterpiece and surely one of Dannii's finest moments. This remix isn't nearly as good as the original but it's always a pleasure to hear this song in any form.
14. Begin To Spin Me Round (Dannii Vs Dead Or Alive)(Radio Edit) - 10/10
The perfect mash-up! This sounds as good today as the day it was released. I still remember Dannii's excitement when this reached #2 on the UK charts. I think she would have died from shock if it actually made #1! Blissful.
15. Love Me Like This - 7/10
This is one of the better Random Music produced tracks on the album. "Love Me Like This" is a cute little pop song, which is only marred by a grating sample. Not Dannii's finest moment but fun nonetheless.
16. Bad Weather - 7/10
Produced by Thriller Jill, "Bad Weather" is a kooky pop tune bursting with dodgy metaphors. The song begins promisingly but goes nowhere. The chorus is non-existent and the verses are somewhat clumsy. Nevertheless, this is still a fun listen.
17. Invitation - 9.5/10
The team of Gareth Young, Sarah Eker, Cheryl Parker and Dannii need to work together more often. They have already written one of the best tracks on "Unleashed" in the form of "Undeniable" and "Invitation" is another stunning mid-tempo ballad. The production is detailed, Dannii's voice sounds absolutely amazing and the lyrics are lovely. Excellent.
18. It Won't Work Out (Ross Cullum Single Mix) - 10/10
Ever since the phenomenal dance version of "It Won't Work Out" leaked last year, I've had little time for the original ballad version. However, this slightly tweaked version is just brilliant. It begins like a ballad before kicking into a crazy mix of guitars and heavy beats. A truly stunning vocal performance from Holidannii!
Bonus Track: Viva L'Amour - 9/10
"Viva L'Amour" is the bonus track from iTunes. A stomping electro anthem, "Viva L'Amour" stands out as one of the album's best tracks. Which is fucking annoying. How did "Going Going Gone", "Bad Weather" or "Love Me Like This" make the final cut ahead of this gem? I love the throbbing production and the lyrics. This is really worth downloading separately from iTunes.
"Unleashed" is wildly uneven but it belongs in every Dannii fan's collection. The highs are fabulous and the lows are amusing. "Unleashed" was released in the UK on Monday and will be released in Australia on the 19th of November. Pre-order your copy from iTunes or Chaos.