It’s been three years since Anastacia last released an album of original material, but today sees the pop-rock powerhouse make a welcome return. Evolution is the singer’s seventh studio album, lead by the previously released ‘Caught in the Middle’.
Whilst she is best known for her high energy numbers such as ‘I’m Outta Love’, ‘One Day In Your Life’ and ‘Left Outside Alone’, Evolution sees Anastacia weave together pop-rock anthems with touching ballads in order to tell her personal story.
Evolution opens with the anthemic lead single, ‘Caught in the Middle’. Released back in July, the track gave us a little insight into what we could expect from the new era of music from Anastacia. It’s safe to say we weren’t disappointed, as the track contains all the ingredients of an incredible Anastacia song but with a 2017 twist. With its powerful chorus and fierceness throughout, ‘Caught in the Middle’ is the perfect song to open the 13-track album.
‘Redlight’ hooks you in from the first few seconds thanks to Anastacia’s dramatic vocal. The track is then revealed to be a little more upbeat and is rich in brass sounds which add a feel good vibe. We think ‘Redlight’ is the perfect driving song, and we hope that we can find “love in the middle of the highway” just like Anastacia!
‘Stamina’ shows a gentler side to Anastacia, although her vocal remains just as compelling. The chorus of the ballad is incredibly empowering, and is strengthened by the use of gospel style backing vocals. The strings throughout the latter half of the song are beautiful and goosebump-inducing, as is the final bridge.
“Every morsel in my body aches, I don’t hear a single word I say, and I’m starting to break, starting to break, no wonder. And if I don’t let it wear me down, we might find a way to work this out and my love hangs around a little longer.”
Anastacia is a lady who has been through a hell of a lot during her life, both good and bad. However, ‘Stamina’ acts as a reminder for herself, and anyone else who is fighting a battle, to hold on and keep going a little longer.
Continuing with the theme of empowerment, ‘Boxer’ packs a heavier punch musically and showcases a rockier sound from the vocal powerhouse. Whilst ‘Stamina’ was a gentler message of hope, ‘Boxer’ portrays Anastacia physically fight against her battles, coming out stronger at the end. The track has a driving guitar melody and drum beat throughout, which gives the song a rousing anthemic vibe. With lyrics such as ‘I’m a survivor by name, whether I win or lose’, Anastacia shows that she is powerful woman, and we couldn’t be prouder of her for overcoming the difficulties in her life.
Over the years, Anastacia has become synonymous with her uptempo and powerful anthems. However, occasionally we get to see her vulnerable side and piano ballad ‘My Everything’ showcases this perfectly. We can’t deny that we love a good ballad, but ‘My Everything’ is on a different level. Whilst the track is simple, you can feel every bit of emotion in Anastacia’s voice, and the result is pretty breathtaking. Written as a declaration of love for nobody in particular, Anastacia wants to remind us all about the importance of love.
Speaking about the track, she said: “I always wanted to write a song that my fans could play at their weddings. When I first told my manager and my record label about the idea, they looked at me like I’d gone completely crazy. Now they have to admit that it’s a very beautiful love song, that’s completely different from what I usually do. I love life and I love love. Even if the earth is a complete hell hole right now, love wins, man! In the end, love will prevail!”
Whilst we pick our feels up from the floor, it’s time to have a bit of fun with the jazzy ‘Nobody Loves Me Better’. The track is a mid-tempo offering with a slick groove, building up to a chorus which you’re guaranteed to be singing along to at the top of your voice. “Everywhere I go, I want them all to know that we can go on and on and on and on, nobody loves me better”, croons Anastacia over an infectious selection of brass.
The album continues the mid-tempo vibe with ‘Reckless’. There is a lot going on during the track, and for us it’s definitely a grower. The track’s highlight comes around the 1:54 mark, and if we weren’t already bopping along then we definitely would be by this point. ‘Reckless’ does a great job of showcasing Anastacia’s unmistakable vocal during a production-heavy song.
Following two infectious tracks, Anastacia delivers another stunning ballad in the form of ‘Not Coming Down’. Once again, the track is both lyrically and melodically powerful and shows that the singer isn’t going to give up when things get tough. ‘Not Coming Down’ gives another insight into Anastacia’s vulnerable side, whilst also reinforcing that she is a strong woman.
Continuing with the slow-tempo offerings, ‘Before’ and ‘Pain’ are gritty ballads with a rockier undertone. ‘Before’ is a ‘screw you’ anthem in which Anastacia sings that she’s “rising high, I’m stronger than I’ve been before”. She isn’t going to let anyone break her as she is able to stand strong on her own two feet. ‘Pain’, on the other hand’, digs even deeper and we can feel every inch of Anastacia’s emotion, particularly during the chorus. The stirring strings and the way she sings “I can feel your pain” bring a lump to our throats.
‘Why’ is another emotional piano ballad, in which Anastacia questions why the world is bombarded with terrible events. Inspired by today’s society, the song contains lyrics such as “Seems to me we’re living in a revolution, but we don’t need weapons ’cause we’re already bleeding, let’s take away the pain”, an incredibly poignant statement. ‘Why’ builds to a powerful crescendo where Anastacia is joined by a choir and a heavier instrumental, which really hits home the song’s message.
The penultimate track, ‘Boomerang’, captures your attention immediately with its infectious melody. Whilst we spent the first listen bopping along, a second listen allowed us to properly take in the great advice shared by Anastacia during the booming chorus.
“Life is what you make of it, you live and you learn. Whatever you throw into it you get in return”
We can imagine that ‘Boomerang’ will be a great track to hear live thanks to its feel-good, positive vibe – we’re already excited at the thought!
‘Higher Livin’ marks Evolution’s final track (sob), but Anastacia ends on a fantastic, upbeat note. The catchy track oozes feel-good vibes, with the disco-inspired chorus reiterating that the future is unknown but we’ve got to live life to the full. ‘Higher’ is a great way to round off the album, and ties up Anastacia’s journey so far.
Stream Evolution below.
Evolution encapsulates Anastacia’s story and showcases her strength as an artist and as a woman. Whilst we love the anthemic pop-rock offerings, it’s also great to see Anastacia embrace a softer side through heartfelt ballads. ‘Stamina’ and ‘My Everything’ are our standout tracks, whilst ‘Caught in the Middle’, and ‘Boxer’ prove that Anastacia is still a pro when it comes to delivering high-impact offerings.
Marking her first album of original material in three years, Anastacia has put her heart and soul into the body of work, creating an inspiring record which will resonate with fans and listeners. Finding her own strength has allowed Anastacia to deliver an empowering album which will give others the courage to find theirs too.
Evolution is available now.