Cover art included, liner notes not included
Reflecting her years as a music industry veteran,took a self-aware, practical approach to her return to the spotlight. She recorded her comeback album , a collection of songs originally written for and rejected by clients such as , , and . As the album title hints, there's more going on here than just recycling. In a way, is acting when she writes songs to fit the images these artists portray, and her own interpretations of them add another layer of theatrical distance.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, she initially shopped "Chandelier" toand before keeping it for herself and imbuing it with the unique frailty that made it a smash hit. 's skill at crafting songs full of drama and vulnerability that feel real, no matter how loud they get, is in full force on , particularly its first two tracks. Originally intended for another master of huge-yet-genuine-sounding songs "Bird Set Free" and "Alive" are filled with wounded empowerment and vocal acrobatics that sound just as powerful (if less bombastic) coming from .
Elsewhere,'s songwriting is more generic, for better and worse. "Unstoppable" boasts the confidence of a hit single that could belong to any number of divas, but even a presence as compelling as can't elevate "Broken Glass" or the reject "Footprints" above cookie-cutter balladry. Though she returns to the intimate songwriting of her pre-pop career on "One Million Bullets" many of 's most interesting and successful moments happen when takes on more unexpected roles. A pair of songs intended for let her show off a more lighthearted side. For the most part, however, meta-pop is another example of how cleverly brings her experiments into the mainstream.