N.B. (album)

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N.B.
Natasha Bedingfield N B.jpg
International standard edition cover
Studio album by Natasha Bedingfield
Released April 30, 2007
Recorded 2006–2007
(Los Angeles, California, United States)
Genre
Length 65:34
Label
Producer
Natasha Bedingfield chronology
Unwritten
(2004)
N.B. / Pocketful of Sunshine
(2007 / 08)
Strip Me
(2010)
Singles from N.B.
  1. "I Wanna Have Your Babies"
    Released: 12 March 2007
  2. "Soulmate"
    Released: 2 July 2007
  3. "Say It Again"
    Released: 8 October 2007
Pocketful of Sunshine
North American standard edition cover
Singles from Pocketful of Sunshine
  1. "Love Like This"
    Released: 25 September 2007
  2. "Pocketful of Sunshine"
    Released: 12 February 2008
  3. "Angel"
    Released: 11 August 2008
  4. "Soulmate"
    Released: 9 December 2008

N.B. is the second studio album released by British singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield. It was released in the United Kingdom on 30 April 2007 through Phonogenic Records. Upon release the album was praised for Bedingfield's vocals and the fun theme to the records however some critics were disappointed noting that the material was not as catchy as her debut project, Unwritten. In the United Kingdom it produced two top ten hits, "I Want to Have Your Babies" and "Soulmate".

On 22 January 2008 the album was released in the United States and Canada under the name Pocketful of Sunshine with new packaging and an alternative track listing featuring only six of the original songs. The US version's title song became a top-five hit whilst the lead single, "Love Like This" with Sean Kingston, became a top-twenty hit. US critics said that although the album was definitely a pop record it felt inorganic and awkwardly assembled.

Music and lyrics[edit]

"How Do You Do?", the opening track about flirting, features guitars and a horn section. "I Wanna Have Your Babies", the second track, was chosen as the lead single as it was a representation Bedingfield's shifting priorities from being a single young woman to "dating, searching for a partner" and "looking for Mr Right".[1] The song discusses a woman's battle to stop herself from rushing into relationships in an effort to find the right man to be the father of her children. The song received mixed reviews from music critics, who generally found it to be less impressive than past releases, but its release was moderately successful, reaching the top forty in most countries.[2] The second single, "Soulmate", is a ballad on which Bedingfield wonders if there is a partner for everyone.

"Who Knows", the fourth track, begins with a "reggae-pop vibe" which slowly progresses to an electro-style sound featuring a string section.[3] It received positive reviews, with one reviewer stating that it was reminiscent of "Amy Winehouse's gruff vocal style and her sassiness".[4] "Who Knows" was also featured in the motion picture 27 Dresses. The fifth track and third single is "Say It Again". It is co-written with Maroon 5's lead singer Adam Levine, who also provides backing vocals on the song. "Pirate Bones" discusses the pitfalls of celebrity and fame. On the song Bedingfield commented "if you're giving up your enjoyment of life for somebody else's idea of success, it's like being a pirate who's got his hoard of treasure and is sitting on an island where there are no shops to spend it. It doesn't mean anything."[1]

The eighth track, "Angel", was inspired by R&B music and was composed around a series of piano loops.[4] "When You Know You Know" features an orchestra and its lyrics discuss a failing relationship. The tenth track, "(No More) What Ifs", features a rap by Eve and received negative reviews, with The Guardian describing it as "an ill-advised move for all concerned".[5] "Not Givin' Up", features a heavy urban beat with electronic sound effects in the background. The song was well received by critics because of its "near-certain crossover appeal for both sides of the Atlantic".[4] "Still Here", the twelfth track, was originally recorded for the film Rocky Balboa in 2006, but was not included on the soundtrack.[6] The song was later covered by Jennifer Hudson and included on her 2010 second album, I Remember Me.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional reviews
N.B.
BBC (positive) link
Digital Spy 3/5 stars link
The Guardian 3/5 stars link
Stylus Magazine (B) link
Sydney Morning Herald (positive)link
Yahoo! 6/10 stars link
Pocketful of Sunshine
Metacritic 65/100 link
About.com 3/5 stars link
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars link
Billboard (Positive) link
Blender 3.5/5 stars link
Entertainment Weekly (B-) link
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars link
Robert Christgau (C+) link

N.B. received mixed to positive reviews from most music critics, but some criticised it for its lightweight content. In a review for The Guardian, Craig McLean wrote that the album has "nothing as catchy as Unwritten, the tunes are on the airy-fairy side of breezy, and the lyrics on the naff side of plain".[7] The Times called the album "patchy and disappointing" and gave it two out of five stars,[8] whilst Marie Claire magazine said that "many of the tracks are forgettable", but that Bedingfield's "strong voice and eccentricities elevate her above many blonde and bland popstars."[9] The album was called "good clean fun, entertaining and inoffensive" by Yahoo!, but was also noted for its lack of risk taking and Bedingfield's decision to continue her "grown-up cartoon pop" rather than try something new and that there was little chance of it being considered a classic album.[10] However, Entertainment.ie reviewer Sheena McGinley was less impressed, and wrote that it was "too embarrassing to listen to in public", rating the album two out of five stars.[11]

Pocketful of Sunshine received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 65, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 14 reviews. Kerri Mason, Billboard reviewer, gave the album positive response. Mason wrote,"The album has an undeniable flip-flop feel throughout; like the unplugged soul-chick hoedown Beyoncé tried to conjure at the end of the "Irreplaceable" video."[12] Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone wrote that "Bedingfield doesn't have much to say", but commented that "the packaging in which she wraps her openhearted thoughts makes Sunshine a decent little pop record".[13] Bill Lamb of About.com noted that "unfortunately, her second solo album, massively reworked from her corresponding second album in the UK, is simply another professional, corporately polished pop record. Songs and vocals are reasonably solid..." but, he added, "it's hard to hear inspiration."[14] Los Angeles Times was disappointed that "I Wanna Have Your Babies" was not included on Pocketful of Sunshine and wrote that "as awkward as the song is, it fleshes out Bedingfield's vision better than Jerkins' Mary J. Blige "Angel" or Rotem's Fergalicious "Piece of Your Heart". The album ending up receiving 2.5 stars out of 4.[15] Allmusic gave the album a mixed review and described it as "awkwardly assembled", and added that it "feels inorganic in a way that Unwritten did not, less personal and more vetted by various A&R executives".[16] Glenn Gambo in a review for Newsday gave the album C+ rating, and wrote that the album "barely registers" and was "full of pale copies of other successful pop [songs] that don't necessarily work for Bedingfield".[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

N.B. debuted on the UK Albums Chart at number nine on 6 May 2007, selling 19,500 copies in its first week [18] This would be the album's highest chart position and the only week it spent within the Top 20. The album spent a total of 13 weeks in the UK Top 100.[19] Outside of the United Kingdom, the album failed to reach the top ten. In Ireland, N.B. debuted at number fourteen and in the Netherlands it reached number thirteen.[20] It peaked outside the top twenty in Switzerland.[20] In Australia, the album failed to enter the top one hundred, but peaked at number eleven on the Hitseekers albums chart.[21]

Pocketful of Sunshine debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States at number three, selling 49,000 copies. The first-week sales surpassed her debut album, Unwritten, which sold 34,000 copies its first week of release.[22] The album has become the third highest debut by a United Kingdom-signed female artist in Billboard history, after Joss Stone, who entered at number two and now Leona Lewis, after her debut at number one.[23] The album, however, quickly fell down the chart. After performing on American Idol, sales of the album and single "Pocketful of Sunshine" increased considerably. The album jumped from number 97 to number 24 on the Billboard 200, while the single charted within the top five on the Billboard charts. The album was certified Gold on 12 December 2008. To date it has sold more than 750,000 copies.[24] In Canada, the album debuted at number thirteen.[25]

Singles[edit]

"I Wanna Have Your Babies" was released as the lead single from N.B. on 2 April 2007. The single received mixed reviews but reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart and reached the top forty in most countries worldwide.[26] "Soulmate" was released as the second single from the album on 2 July 2007. The single reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart and the top twenty in most countries worldwide, becoming even more successful than the album's lead single.[27] "Say It Again", featuring Adam Levine, was released as the third and final single from the album on 8 October 2007. The single completely failed to chart.

"Love Like This", featuring Sean Kingston, was released as the lead single from Pocketful of Sunshine. It was released on 25 September 2007.[28] It was released for online music stores on 2 October 2007. The single was a top twenty hit in the United States, reaching number eleven on Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on Pop 100.[29] The single was released in the United Kingdom on 7 April 2008. "Pocketful of Sunshine", the title track of the album was chosen to be the second single. The song was sent to radio stations on 11 February 2008.[30] The single reached number five on Billboard Hot 100, becoming Bedingfield's second top ten single.[31] It also peaked at number three on Canadian Hot 100. The single's release date in the United Kingdom was canceled. The song was selected as the theme song of Nickland in Germany. "Angel" was released as the third single from the album on 11 August 2008. In its first official week at radio, "Angel" started at number fifty-nine on Mediabase's Top 40 chart with 318 spins and jumped to number forty in its second week. Phil Griffin was booked to direct the music video. It reached number sixty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100, number thirty-five on the US Pop 100, number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play and number forty-one on the Canadian Hot 100.[32][33] "Soulmate" was released as the fourth and final single from the album on 9 December 2008. Bedingfield performed the song in a medley at the American Music Awards of 2008 and on Dancing with the Stars.[34] On 25 November 2008 Bedingfield confirmed "Soulmate" to be the fourth single while introducing the song at her Sophie's Lounge performance on Sophie @ 103.7.[35] It only reached number ninety-six on the US Billboard Hot 100, however.

Track listing[edit]

N.B.[edit]

N.B.  — Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "How Do You Do?"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
3:41
2. "I Wanna Have Your Babies"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
3:37
3. "Soulmate"
3:32
4. "Who Knows"
Elizondo 3:46
5. "Say It Again"
Elizondo 3:30
6. "Pirate Bones"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
3:47
7. "Backyard"
  • Kurstin
  • Bedingfield
3:27
8. "Tricky Angel"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Wilkins
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Wilkins
3:04
9. "When You Know You Know"
  • Bedingfield
  • Brisebois
  • Rodrigues
2:50
10. "I Think They're Thinking (Interlude)"     0:58
11. "(No More) What Ifs" (featuring Eve)
  • Elizondo
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
4:06
12. "Not Givin' Up"
  • Danja
  • Bedingfield (vocal)
  • Kipner (vocal)
3:47
13. "Still Here" Diane Warren Guy Roche 3:56
14. "Smell the Roses"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
3:21
Total length: 47:22

Pocketful of Sunshine[edit]

Pocketful of Sunshine  — Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Put Your Arms Around Me"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Andrew Frampton
  • Wilkins
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
3:43
2. "Pocketful of Sunshine"
  • Shanks
3:23
3. "Happy"
  • Gad
3:40
4. "Love Like This" (featuring Sean Kingston)
  • Wilkins
  • Watters
  • Tedder
  • Biancaniello
3:42
5. "Piece of Your Heart"
3:47
6. "Soulmate"
  • Bedingfield
  • David Tench
  • Mads Hauge
  • Leonard
  • Bedingfield
3:34
7. "Say It Again"
  • Bedingfield
  • Levine
  • Elizondo
  • Elizondo
3:32
8. "Angel"
  • Jerkins
4:08
9. "Backyard"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kurstin
  • Kurstin
  • Bedingfield
3:27
10. "Freckles"
  • Bedingfield
  • Gad
  • Gad
3:46
11. "Who Knows"
  • Bedingfield
  • Elizondo
  • Elizondo
3:46
12. "Pirate Bones"
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
  • Bedingfield
  • Kipner
  • Frampton
  • Wilkins
3:52
13. "Not Givin' Up"
  • Bedingfield
  • Hills
  • Kipner
  • Danja
3:49
Total length: 48:09

Personnel[edit]

N.B.[edit]

Adapted from the AllMusic credits.[41]

Pocketful of Sunshine[edit]

Adapted from the Pocketful of Sunshine AllMusic credits.[42]

  • Natasha Bedingfield — lead vocals, multi-instrumentalism
  • Danielle Brisebois — backing vocals
  • Ravaughn Brown — backing vocals
  • Steve Kipner — backing vocals
  • Richard Love — backing vocals
  • Meleni Smith — backing vocals
  • Mike Elizondo — guitar, bass guitar, programming, keyboards
  • Andrew Frampton — backing vocals, keyboards, programming
  • Richard Altenbach — orchestra conductor, arranger, strings
  • Toby Gad — producer, writer, instrumentation, programming, arranger, mixing
  • J.R. Rotem — instrumentation, arranger
  • Greg Kurstin — instrumentation, engineering
  • Jack Rothschild — drums, programming, engineering
  • John Shanks — guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Wayne Wilkins — keyboards, backing vocals, drum programming, keyboard programming
  • Robbie Campesinos — vocal arrangements, backing vocals, guitar arrangements
  • Trevor Lawrence — drums, cymbals
  • Charles Judge — keyboards
  • Nick Lashley, Wendy Melvoin — guitar
  • Michael Valerio, Kate Bird — bass guitar
  • Julie Gigante – violin
  • Neel Hammond – violin
  • Natalie Leggett – violin
  • Mark Robertson – violin
  • Keith Greene — viola
  • Victor Lawrence — cello
  • Sebastian Toettcher – cello
  • Jason Pennock — digital editing
  • Greg Ogan — engineering, vocal engineering
  • Lleyton Blaine — assistant engineer, mixing assistant
  • Adam Hawkins, Brian Scheuble — engineering
  • Daniel Frampton — vocal engineering
  • Keith Gretlein — assistant engineer
  • Anne Kasdorf — assistant engineer
  • Matt Serrecchio — assistant engineer
  • Marcella "Ms. Lago" Araica — mixing
  • Manny Marroquin — mixing
  • Phil Tan — mixing
  • Alex Dromgoole — mixing assistant
  • Josh Houghkirk — mixing assistant
  • Matt Paul — mixing assistant
  • David Kutch — mastering
  • John Akehurst — photography
  • Michelle Holme — design

Charts[edit]

Chart (2007–08) Peak
position
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[43] 13
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[44] 13
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[45] 80
Irish Albums (IRMA)[46] 14
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[47] 37
UK Albums (OCC)[48] 9
US Billboard 200[49] 3

Certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label(s) Format(s) Catalog Ref.
Europe April 27, 2007 N.B. CD Sony BMG 88697076452 [53]
United Kingdom April 30, 2007 RCA 88697076452 [54]
Japan May 9, 2007 Sony BMG BVCP-24109 [55]
Australia May 25, 2007 88697077542 [56]
Canada January 3, 2008 Digital download N/A [36]
January 22, 2008 Pocketful of Sunshine
  • CD
  • digital download
88697117482 [57]
United States 88697226552 [39]
Japan April 23, 2008 Sony BMG BVCP-21607 [58]
Canada November 11, 2008 Deluxe CD+DVD 88697223092 [40]
United States
  • Epic
  • Phonogenic
88697367742 [59]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Artist Profile. EMI Music Publishing. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  2. ^ "I Wanna Have Your Babies" Charts. musicsquare.net. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
  3. ^ Lizzie Ennever. "Soulmate" Album Review. BBC. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Soulmate Album Review. IndieLondon.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  5. ^ Alex Macpherson. "Soulmate Album Review. The Guardian. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  6. ^ Keith Caulfield. Charting As Easily As 'Bruising?'. Billboard.com. 10 November 2006. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
  7. ^ Craig McLean. "Natasha Bedingfield, Soulmate". The Guardian. 22 April 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  8. ^ The Times (online edition) - review of NB (28 April 2007)
  9. ^ "N.B. by Natasha Bedingfield". Marie Claire. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  10. ^ Dan Gennoe. "Natasha Bedingfield -'Soulmate'". Yahoo!. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  11. ^ Sheena McGinley. "Natasha Bedingfield - Soulmate. Entertainment.ie. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  12. ^ Mason, Kerri. "'Pocketful of Sunshine' Review". Billboard. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
  13. ^ Hoard, Christian. "Pocketful of Sunshine: Natasha Bedingfield: Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
  14. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Pocketful of Sunshine: Natasha Bedingfield: Review" About.com. Retrieved 29 January 2008.
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  35. ^ [1] Archived 20 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
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