The Singles Bar: Leona Lewis, "Collide"

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Now that Pia Toscano's making a possibly futile attempt to usurp Leona Lewis in the States as a throwback diva, where could Leona possibly go? To the dance floor--specifically, the crystal-paved fantasia of a dance floor that David Guetta and Kylie Minogue keep in some shimmery corner of their imagination. She's got a bigger, if less iconic voice than either, but does that make a niche? Listen below:

Leona Lewis - Collide (BBC Radio 1 Premiere) by josepvinaixa

There's carping already about "Collide" ripping off Ministry of Sound artist Avicii, but that's transient and not the real problem. The real problem with "Collide" is the conceit of crashing/colliding into someone. It's been done many times before with songs both muted (Dave Matthews) and brash (Gwen Stefani). We know we're leaving plenty of songs out. Crashes are generally painful, so it's really unlikely everyone's coming up with this metaphor on their own.

But even if Leona were the first to make joy out of collisions, her delivery still wouldn't work. The lethargic, two-note verses make her voice sound less husky than bored, an emotion that a comeback single should never evoke. And although this is a Leona Lewis song, meaning her songwriting rider probably sets a minimum decibel limit for the chorus, the David Guetta-lite production underneath is too passe and pooped to do more than twitch. No matter how much Leona pushes her voice, "Collide" remains stationary. The track isn't like a full-speed collision so much as two objects gliding toward each other at five miles per hour. Most hits dent the charts by blowing the previous hits upward and outward until they're too big not not to make an impact; the mini-mass of "Collide" probably won't be enough to tap the charts, let alone crash them.


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