Eliza Doolittle (Capitol, 2011)

With two parents who are prominent players in London's theater scene, 23-year-old Eliza Doolittle (born Eliza Caird) is a young singer with some pedigree. Her self-titled debut CD was a top 5 hit on her home turf, and while her unapologetic Englishness may limit her exposure here, it's a likable pop record regardless.

The album is generally mid tempo, as Doolittle manages to stay away from ballads, overly blunt dance tracks, and hard rock. Still, Eliza Doolittle works pretty well by mixing different pop styles from different eras with subtle jazz, Latin and R&B influences and by keeping things sunny and upbeat. The lyrics cover the usual topics, but a few of the songs stick out. On the first single "Skinny Genes," Doolittle sings about having positive sexual chemistry with a partner she doesn't always see eye-to-eye with otherwise. On, my favorite song on the album, called "Nobody," she sings about defining and achieving success on her own terms, and not making herself something she's not just for a crack at fame. The biggest hit on the album is the soulful "Pack Up," on which Doolittle disregards other people's negative energy and moves forward.

Doolittle's voice is more pleasantly appealing than technically superior, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Neither is her willingness to let her London accent come across loud and clear on the vocals. Eliza Doolittle ultimately strikes me as a good kid with some talent and a healthy attitude towards her work. Hopefully, she can maintain her charm and spirit as she matures with her music.

Overall grade: B

reviewed by Scott

"Pack Up"

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