Last year, Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia surprised us all by not only announcing that she was pregnant but that she had also signed to record label BMG and is working on a brand new studio album which is expected in 2021.
This week, she treated us to an acoustic performance of the beautiful title track to her 1997 debut album, Left of the Middle and asked for requests for more performances.
Being a big fan, particularly of her first three albums, I certainly have some requests. In fact, I’ve listened back through her catalogue of work and pulled out my Top 10 favourite Natalie Imbruglia songs as below. All of these for the acoustic treatment please Natalie!
10. Wrong Impression
The second single from Natalie’s second album is like being hit with a ray of sunshine. Released in January 2002, it gave Natalie her fourth Top 10 UK hit and sixth Top 20. It was co-written by Natalie with Gary Clark from 80s band Danny Wilson who are probably best known for their single Mary’s Prayer and produced by ex Tears For Fearser Ian Stanley.
9. Do You Love?
Another White Lillies Island track takes the ninth place on my list. Do You Love? begins as a haunting mid-tempo track with Natalie’s vocals velvety smooth before it builds to a stadium sing-along chorus. This track was also co-written with Gary Clark who took on Producer duties too.
8. Big Mistake
Natalie’s second single was released in March 1998 and gave her a second Top 5 hit when it peaked at Number 2 in the UK. An angsty pop rock number, Big Mistake was co-written and produced by Mark Goldenberg (Eels/Cher). The video was shot in Barcelona and sees Natalie oblivious to a man trying to woo her and all the hazards that get in his way. Spoiler alert! He doesn’t manage to reach her as she drives off on the back of an open truck at the end.
An album highlight from Natalie’s Left of the Middle, Impressed is an energetic, rock guitar-fuelled pop song that so summed up the mash up of styles that was happening in the late 90s. Natalie has fun with the tongue-n-cheek, flirty chorus as she sings ‘Don’t like you, but I’m impressed’. The track was co-written by Natalie with Rick Palombi and Nick Trevisick, the latter actually wrote for 80s siblings Five Star amongst others.
6. That Day
Where Wrong Impression seemed like the natural attempt at creating the next Torn, White Lillies Island lead single That Day, gave something a little more unexpected. There’s still the guitars, but melodically and lyrically it’s a little more frantic and almost spoken word in the verses. The track was released in October 2001 and peaked at Number 11 in the UK. A first video was shot for the song in a London cafe but was scrapped and a new video hastily made where Natalie is in an enclosed car park or building and keeps getting barged by people walking past til she finally makes it to a sunny mural; the light at the end of the tunnel.
The lead single from Natalie’s third studio album peaked at Number 8 in the UK in 2005. The track was co-written by Natalie with Eg White (Will Young/Adele) and Sheppard Solomon (Kelly Clarkson/Britney Spears). The video was shot in Ukraine and sees Natalie as a Jason Bourne style fugutive as she evades her pursuers.
4. Never Tear Us Apart with Tom Jones
In 1999 Tom Jones released an album of covers all as duets and he picked Natalie as his partner for a cover of INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart. The blend of Tom’s deep and Natalie’s smooth voices works so well and this certainly should’ve been a single. As a duet the song takes on an even greater emotional resonance and the strings and vocal harmonies lift it to another level.
The final single lifted from Left of the Middle, Smoke is a powerful, emotional ballad that mixes piano with subtle, edgy beats. The simple but effective video, was shot by American photographer and director Matthew Rolston who also shot videos for Janet Jackson and Madonna in the same year. The track peaked at Number 5 on the Official UK Charts giving her a fourth Top 20 hit from Left of the Middle.
The song that started her recording career and one that I still often hear today; perhaps why it didn’t quite make the top spot as it’s a little overplayed. Released in 1997, I vividly remember seeing the CD single which looked like it was actually torn (see what they did there?) and then Natalie looked effortlessly stunning with her short dark chopped hair and casual indie fashions in the accompanying video. Torn was actually recorded in Danish back in 1993 and then covered again in 1995 and 1996 before Natalie released her version in 1997. It’s one of the biggest selling singles of all-time in the UK joining the million sellers club despite peaking at Number 2.
1. Counting Down the Days
My all-time favourite Natalie Imbruglia song and perhaps the greatest ever Christmas song that never was, Counting Down the Days was released in the summer (what were they thinking) of 2005 as the second single and title track to her third album. Starting quite bleak, it tells the hardship of work putting a physical distance between her and then hubby Daniel Johns. It builds to a crescendo of a chorus and even has bells on it. This is my favourite Natalie song….so far.
Follow Natalie on Instagram to see more of her upcoming acoustic performances.
What would be in your Top 10 Natalie Imbruglia songs? Let us know @entfocusmusic