Many fans of Natalie Imbruglia were “Torn” after her one song was all we really heard from her. Now, years after her first release, she has returned with “White Lilies Island,” a collection of songs that toe the line between creative and questionable.
Imbruglia seemed to be largely ignored when other singles, like “Wishing I Was There,” were great follow-ups, radio seemed to miss out on it, lost in their constant search for the latest teen pop ingenue.
Imbruglia is giving them a second chance to dive into her music with “Island,” which has some extremely worthwhile tracks that could keep her from one hit wonder status for life.
First single “Wrong Impression” reminds us why we fell in love with her in the first place. The song, another catchy pop tune with a delightful hook, makes perfect use of guitars again, and Imbruglia’s vocals are perfect on this track. The chorus has beautiful tension that is a very pleasant build during the middle of the song.
The song’s lyrics aren’t something to scoff at either: “Have you ever wondered/if this was ever more than a crazy idea…/Have you ever wondered/What we could’ve been, if you’d only let me in” A song of a love that could’ve been isn’t necessarily new, but it’s done well here.
“Butterflies” puts to words the feelings of loneliness quite well, with many analogies that leave no chance for missing what’s being talked about. You can’t miss it with lyrics like “Swallow purple terror candy/Don’t forget to breathe/Sickened by the wanting/And drowning from the need.” The song’s feel carries the sullenness of the topic too, with a somewhat depressed feel .
Not all the songs are wins though. “That Day,” the lead track of the album, which is a sort of pop rap akin to Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do,” doesn’t really work. It just seems like she’s trying to keep up with the song. She seems to excel better in simpler songs than a song like this, and her music shines when she goes that route. This song, while experimental for her, doesn’t work too well.
Imbruglia co-penned all of the tracks, and it’s easy to see her creative influence was involved in this project. But another questionable decision was the number of slower songs on this CD. While the mood of the CD does seem darker in general, Imbruglia has succeeded previously larger on the more uptempo songs, ones with a punch that catches one’s ear.
That having been said, Imbruglia’s CD definitely works for a darker mood, akin to the concept Janet Jackson aimed for on her Velvet Rope album. The CD is another creative win for Imbruglia, but the sophomore slump seems to have captured, at least partially, another victim.