Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate uncertain is the 2000 2nd album, Wishing, by stage and television actress Martine McCutcheon.
The album opens with lead hit single I’m Over You, and instantly I am reminded of Billie Piper and S Club 7. This song is unashamedly catchy, and it gives Martine plenty of room to show off her vocals here with big long high notes. Unsurprisingly, this track took her to #2 in the UK singles chart.
Tonight follows this, one of the five Martine co-written songs on the album. It opens with a disco sound, and it manages to hold on to this throughout, blending with enough pop/dance to make it fit amongst the disco/dance fusion style that dominated in the early 2000s. This should probably have been the third single.
This is followed by the slower Teardrops track, which opens with some wandering synth soundscapes, and piano. The vocals are fairly low in this track compared to the previous two songs, and whilst it’s a nice enough track, it doesn’t venture far.
Fourth track, is second and final single On The Radio – a cover of the Donna Summer classic. Martine has a slightly softer vocal than Donna, but her version manages to keep the pace and energy of the classic. Admittedly, Donna’s version is much more funk-laden, but Martine’s version feels lighter and easier to digest and dance to.
Up next is Every Time, which sounds a lot like Billie Piper – musically and vocally. Martine gets some warm vocal harmonies here between herself and backing singers Ray Ruffin, Vanya Reaborn, and Michelle Escoffery. She also gets some wonderfully powerful high notes to hit – which she does so flawlessly.
The pace drops a little for ballad Love Changes Nothing (nobody tell Michael Ball!), although this song does get some roaring guitar solo. This song is definitely an album track, and sits perfectly beside Every Time.
A string section opens You Mean The World To Me which co-writer Martine soon adds her vocals to. This is a slow ballad, and one that makes me feel like it will probably become a future X Factor winner’s debut single.
What You See Is What You Get follows this, which opens with some a wonderful synth loop, giving way to Martine’s vocals and a rich acoustic guitar. This builds up with strings and bass into a really nice pop song.
Title track Wishing is up next – another Martine co-written song. This track is a really nice upbeat song.
Tenth track Cried So Many Nights is another slow ballad, and has some great soft beats, strings, and an air of Spanish guitar. Martine’s vocals are rich and strong here, and she’s joined towards the end of the song by Ray Ruffin who gets a solo section, which adds a great balance to her vocals.
This is followed by penultimate song Together We Are Beautiful, a lovely respectful cover of the Fern Kinney disco #1 hit from 1980. Martine’s delicate voice works here with the often breathy vocals, and musically this song remains loyal to the disco genre where the song belongs.
Final track Everybody bounces in and you’re hit with some clear vocal effects on Martine’s voice (we had just had Cher‘s Believe, so this was okay). Part of the melody in the verses here reminds me of a song, and it’s bugging me as to which one. The sleeve notes reveal no credit.
Overall, this album is a good example of where pop was in 2000, and it sits perfectly amongst the likes of Billie Piper and S Club 7, who were all releasing the same sound as Martine. If it hadn’t have been for her winning the role in My Fair Lady, then I’m sure that she would have continued to find success with further singles from this album. The only down side is that there’s a lot of tracks that sound similar here – the candidates for potential 3rd single stand out, whilst the rest of the songs are a bit all ‘as one’.
Where is Martine Mccutcheon now?
This album failed to see the same success that her debut album had (#2 in the UK) the year before, but despite this, she released a third album in 2002 called Musicality, but this performed worse – stalling at #55.
She has also continued acting, appearing in shows including Spooks, films such as Love Actually, and stage shows such as My Fair Lady, for which she won the 2002 Best Actress in a Musical Laurence Olivier award. Plans for a third single from this album were scrapped when she won the role in My Fair Lady.
She was declared bankrupt in 2013.
Martine and her husband Jack McManus became parents for the first time in February 2015.
POP RESCUE 2014 RATING:
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 3 / 5
- 2000 UK CHART POSITION: #25, certified Gold.
- POP RESCUE 2014 COST: £1.00 from a Poundland store.