Review ·

Susan Boyle, the one female singer to make it big -- like, really, really big -- despite her plain looks (thereby proving that the entertainment industry isn't shallow after all, nyah!) continues to be immensely popular with her sophomore album, The Gift, which follows her bazillion-selling debut, I Dreamed A Dream. Produced by Steve Mac, the man who's manned other U.K. pop sensations like Westlife and Leona Lewis, the album takes a more '60s approach as Boyle explains, "because that was my era." She also explains the jazz songs on the album as a result of being "more content" with herself, which makes sense, since only the bravest souls can record smooth jazz. Among rumored collaboration with Lady Gaga, a rumored opening for Rage Against the Machine, a rumored dissing by Lou Reed -- a lot of rumors! -- Boyle's popularity has remained consistent because of how perfectly her success goes against the most general cynicism about pop culture being too image-centric. I mean, she almost outsold Taylor Swift in 2009. Taylor Swift! Pop music is a fickle engine.

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