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Northern Star
By Steph Bourassa

Every now and then a CD comes out that forces you to question your musical world as you know it.  An album so unexpectedly good enters your hands. This week, this happened to me after buying Melanie C's first solo venture, Northern Star.

I'll admit, I had a thing for the girl before listening to the CD:  She was my favorite Spice Girl (oh come on, don't we all have one!?!)  The CD's been on heavy rotation in my CD player since, and let me tell you this:  Mel C is not in Spiceworld anymore.

The album is sweet and edgy, hip and Y2K ready!  Complete with killer pop melodies, striking electric guitars, producers of the likes of William Orbit (Madonna/Depeche Mode), Marius De Vries (Bjork/Madonna), Rick Nowels, the master 80's songwriter Billy Steinberg (Cindy Lauper/Micheal Jackson/Madonna), a guest appearance by TLC's Left Eye, and the obligatory electronic millennium bleeps and swooshes.

If I could pick one word to best describe the songs on this CD, it would have to be "familiar." The songs are reminiscent of every tune you already know yet you've never heard them before.  I looked into it and figured out that many of the chord structures used are similar to the structure of many other well-known songs.

The surprising thing is that in spite of this, the CD doesn't lose its originality.  It does quite the opposite, I'd say it makes it inviting, welcoming, not unlike the feeling of coming back home after a long trip.

One thing is for sure, I find it hard to understand how she could return to the Spice Girls after demonstrating such artistry and musical maturity.  If you find that you're left longing for some good pop but can't stand the current childish trend sweeping the Pop music world (Britney Spears / Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, All Saints) then this CD is for you.  This is an amazing debut album, but judging by the charts right now, that doesn't seem to be the best kept secret out there.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me.