Natalie Imbruglia Takes on the Boys With a Feminine Twist on ‘Male’: Album Review

Natalie Imbruglia
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">In 1997, </span><a href="/artist/277013/natalie-imbruglia/chart">Natalie Imbruglia</a><span class="s1"> </span><span class="s2">sprinkled fairy dust all over “Torn,” her hit <em>Ednaswap</em> cover. On <i>Male</i>, her first album since 2009, the Aussie singer-actress works more remake magic on tunes originally performed by such male acts as </span><a href="/artist/312099/neil-young/chart">Neil Young</a><span class="s2">, </span><a href="/artist/300613/death-cab-cutie/chart">Death Cab for Cutie</a><span class="s2"> and </span><a href="/artist/430102/tom-petty/chart">Tom Petty</a><span class="s2">. Imbruglia brings her feathery femininity to songs like </span><a href="/artist/300085/daft-punk/chart">Daft Punk</a><span class="s2">’s “Instant Crush,” deconstructed to put the focus on the lyrics instead of the robotic effects that tweaked </span><a href="/artist/305365/julian-casablancas/chart">Julian Casablancas</a><span class="s2">’ voice, and “Let My Love Open the Door,” whose dreamy whimsy will surely melt </span><a href="/artist/328755/pete-townshend/chart">Pete Townshend</a><span class="s2">’s heart. Producer Billy Mann casts a ’70s folk-pop glow on some tracks, while taking others into country -territory: </span><a href="/artist/397801/cure/chart">The Cure</a><span class="s2">’s “Friday I’m in Love” turns into a bluegrassy stomper, and a beautifully bittersweet “Goodbye in His Eyes” (</span><a href="/artist/431745/zac-brown-band/chart">Zac Brown Band</a><span class="s2">) evokes early </span><a href="/artist/312512/olivia-newton-john/chart">Olivia Newton-John</a><span class="s2">. It doesn’t all click, like when Imbruglia smooths over all the emotional grit of </span><a href="/artist/300123/damien-rice/chart">Damien Rice</a><span class="s2">’s “Cannonball.” But her charms on <i>Male</i> win you over in the end.</span></p><p class="p1"><em style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">This story originally appeared in the&nbsp;<a href="">Aug. 8 issue of Billboard</a>.</em><span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">&nbsp;</span></p>