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Highlights: House of No Regrets, Song to the Moon, Vide Cor Meum, Hymn to the Fallen
Second Nature (also known as La Diva in America) is Katherine Jenkins second album, churned out only six months after her very successful debut album, Premiére. Like her debut, it was an instant hit. The reason for this was her image and marketing, and not much to do with what is actually on the album because it is not much different from her first. There was no time for her voice to improve, and no time to do anything in the least bit creative. We therefore have a highly predictable album of standards and dullards.
Creatively, aesthetically and artistically this is not a good album. There is nothing to see here, move along, etc. But it's not an unpleasent listen. In fact, it's very soothing and enjoyable. The velvety voice reigns supreme, once again. All Jenkins has to do is stand there, look pretty, and open her mouth, and her albums will sell by the bucket load, regardless of what is on it. No wonder the Warner label picked her up as soon as they could.
But since I am discussing Second Nature, I suppose it's only right for me to venture through the material. It's all coherent and fits, mostly due to the same arrangers throughout the album, one of which includes Jenkins herself. The album opens up with the most famous classical crossover standard, 'Time To Say Goodbye', much to the infuriation of Sarah Brightman fans at the time. Although Jenkins is not quite up to Brightman's vocal standard, she gives the song a different tone and mood. Firstly by the change of pitch (Brightman is a soprano, Jenkins a mezzo-soprano) and Jenkins sings the song a lot faster, stamping out the classic romanticism of the original version. Jenkins's rendition does not have as much impact as Brightman and Bocelli's, but it is nice enough.
The album has many standards but she does manage to make some of the them standout. The choice of Patrick Cassidy's 'Vide Cor Meum' (originally from the film Hannibal, and later used in Kingdom of Heaven) is particularly strong. It was fairly new and rarely recorded at the time of Second Nature's release so Jenkins may have set a standard there (Sarah Brightman and Blake have since recorded it). It's the most moving and inspired song on the album. Ennio Morricone's 'House of no Regrets' (originally known as 'Chi Mai') is also moody and pretty and has a coherent tone to her rendition of 'Song to the Moon' and 'En Arandjuez Con Tu Amor'. John Williams's 'Hymn to the Fallen' is beautifully arranged and performed by Jenkins.
The remainder of the album falls into emptiness. All songs that have been recorded countless of times before, Jenkins tries her best to bring difference to the table, but sometimes the mezzo-soprano voice cannot tackle the task alone. 'Caruso' was all one big horrific mistake (as ballsy as it is to take on a tenor song - something she would continue to do further on in her career). 'O Holy Night' and especially 'You'll Never Walk Alone' gets lost in crowd of all the previous recordings. As with all of Jenkins's albums, your best bet is to simply decide if you like the track list or not. Unless you like her voice, there is nothing else innovative or grand to hear.
1. Time To Say Goodbye
3. Va Pensiero
4. House of No Regrets
5. O Sole Mio
6. En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor
8. Song to the Moon
9. Vide Cor Meum (ft. Salvatore Licitra)
10. Calon Ian
11. Hymn to the Fallen
13. Laudate Dominum
14. O Holy Night
15. You'll Never Walk Alone