Bonnie Tyler - Rocks and HoneyBy Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent
Alumnus of the Jim Steinman school of epic rock, Welsh songstress Bonnie Tyler may have turned down the opportunity to represent the UK in the strangely irresistible cheesy pop fest Eurovision back at the peak of her success in the heady 80s, but having been approached once again by the BBC, she has agreed to head to Malmö this year with a steely determination to secure the crown for us Brits.
While her soft rock tinged country ballad 'Believe In Me' may have already been written off by many hardcore fans, with many preferring the more directed Europop of Norway (Natalie Berger's 'I Feed You My Love) and Finland (Krista Siegfrids' 'Marry Me'), the very fact that we have a popular and credible entry has sparked an interest.
With Tyler already touring Europe to help promote her long-awaited sixteenth studio album, 'Rocks and Honey', which arrives 8 years after her last release, 'Wings', hopes of a fully fledged comeback are high - but the question is, has the gritty vocal of Bonnie Tyler still got what it takes to make you tingle?
The simple as is YES. Tyler's power rock pop days may be a thing of the past, but the 61 year old Glamorgan girl born Gaynor Hopkins has made an impressive return to her country roots. While 'Rocks and Honey' is tinged with subtle hints of her rock days, Tyler's re-emergence as a country singer will have Nashville Queens Faith, LeAnn and Reba watching their step.
Opening with the remarkable 'This Is Gonna Hurt', Tyler kicks proceedings off as she means to continued. A steely, determined heart on the sleeve effort, 'Rocks and Honey' sees Tyler at her most tender and vulnerable, but the new dynamic really allows her growling vocal to show an irresistible softer side.
Though 'Believe In Me' is far from typical of the record, it does offer listeners a reasonable starting point. But a question has to be asked as to why the powerful 'Little Superstar' was not selected as the Eurovision entry - the stonker of an anthem would make Melanie C, circa 'Beautiful Intentions',
seethe with envy.
While 'Little Superstar' would have sufficed as a stand out moment, Tyler tops even her own efforts with the truly irresistible 'Crying'. While there is no doubting that Faith Hill could have blown audiences away with her flawlessly overblown emotional delivery, but the very fact that Tyler is able to make greater impact with a far more real rendition is full credit to her talent.
Many may write Tyler off for using the Eurovision Song Contest to regain a place in the spotlight, but Tyler has more than done her homework and is extremely deserving of a place at the top of the Global Charts. 'Rocks and Honey' exceeds all expectations and could easily be one of the finest new country rock records of 2013.
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers can be contacted via Twitter: @jeremydwilliams
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Sun 5th May, 2013 | 5:36pm
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