Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Natasha Bedingfield – Touch

It’s been a few years since we last had occasion to point out that “I Wanna Have Your Babies” is really good, so here we go again…


Kat Stevens: TASHBED oh how I’ve missed you and your foghorn wail! She’s a popstar I can easily identify with: late 20s, big face, wide-eyed puppydog energy and occasional absent-minded idiocy. I am interested in her life and whom she has spilled coffee over, and whether they will bump into each other later through FATE or perhaps not because she has probably read in Psychologies magazine that you must make your own fate. TashBed sings monotones about these mundanities, gasping for breath, but when it’s time for something emotional she hits notes only dogs can hear. The chorus outgrows the personal kitchen-sink BT advert love story of the verse and ramps up to a huge opening ceremony with accompanying U2 stadium guitar shimmer and hands-in-the-air rave buzzes: TashBed wants to spill coffee over all of us.

Iain Mew: So, first of all, let’s get this straight. Natasha spills her coffee on someone, making him late for work. This all rather says “morning”, no? The man then cancels his meeting with “the guy in the lobby”. As a result, said guy can now make it to Natasha’s place to “party all night til the sun comes up” and have a “Something Changed” style meeting with her. One question — how long was this meeting meant to be?? This dodgy timeline is basically just the new “hyper-bowl”, though, a mere incidental pebble in the face of an onrushing tide of irresistable exuberance. The run-on, zigzagging streams of conciousness are totally thrilling; she sings about buying chocolate chip cookies and I almost want to cheer. A combination of well worn phrases and inimitably awkward “it feels like the world is so big around us” somehow add up to a chorus that’s lost-in-the-moment perfect. I’ve missed this.

Alfred Soto: The chorus sports that corny, processed, post-“Since U Been Gone” lift-off, what else is new. “Spilling coffee was no accident at all” gets the right degree of surprised delight. But the quasi-cyborg effects and Kylie-esque manipulation of space are as convincing as Bedingfield pledging troth to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” in the opening verses.

Michaelangelo Matos: The vocals bleh on apart from the idiotic grace note of the “[pause] touch” that caps the chorus; perhaps this is to signify some of the delicacy that everything else stamps out. Oddly, the rhythm guitar reminds me a little of “Where the Streets Have No Name”. When you evoke Bono singing more subtly than you, there are problems.

Martin Skidmore: The beats skip along energetically, and the big moments are pretty punchy (though they seemed in need of big house moments rather than electropop), but the trouble is that she seems to be struggling to live with the backing track, straining for power and sometimes even speed. I really like the high, thin way she sings “touch”, but overall it ends up sounding a little frantically desperate.

Jonathan Bogart: I’ve never really liked Natasha Bedingfield — sure, I enjoyed the cool breeze of “Pocketful Of Sunshine” during the hot whine of Summer 2008, but even then she was a little too insubstantial, too bubbly, too British. But this! She engages the British knack for storytelling, and turns out to have an identity because of it; the bubbliness remains, but it’s married to a solid beat with a real low end, and a production that finally puts those Joshua Tree guitars to good use. But her vocal, more than the lyrics or the production, is what really make this work; rather than oversinging unpleasantly, she makes her thin, cracked voice work, sending shivers down my spine when she gets to that high “…touch”. I’m only reserving a point because I’m not sure how it’ll hold up a year later; but right now, I really like Natasha Bedingfield.

Katherine St Asaph: This is basically the same single as “Fembot”, no? So: points off for the hippy-dippy serendipity that makes puffery of coincidences and reduces destiny to meet-cutes; points restored for the reeling chorus that finds the emotion anyway.

One Response to “Natasha Bedingfield – Touch”

  1. I will add that this is the first song I’ve added to my regular playlist rotation after hearing it for the first time for SJB. (As opposed to the ones that were already there before they came up for review.) Which feels like a kind of event in itself.