Sleeping in the Nothing

Studio Album by released in 2005
Sleeping in the Nothing's tracklist:
One Word
Uh Oh
Secret Lover
I Can't Wait
Edge of Your Atmosphere
Don't Touch Me While I'm Sleeping
Save Me
One Word (Chris Cox remix)

Sleeping in the Nothing review

Kelly Osbourne's debut, Shut Up – later retitled Changes upon its 2003 reissue – arrived in 2002 in the thick of punk-pop's popularity in the early 2000s and it reflected the sound of the times. Three years later, Osbourne returned with her follow-up, Sleeping in the Nothing. She's wisely ditched the faux-punk approach of her rushed and messy debut and opted for vaguely eighties new wave vibe, which capitalizes on the fact that, though somewhat pasty and podgy, she does possess an undeniable bratty glamour. Kelly Osbourne's new album is all at once new and innovative, but also a throwback to dance and club music from the 80s that references everyone from Missing Persons to Madonna. Appearing on the sleeve with sleek black hair and femme-fatale eyes, the worryingly-monikered Sleeping in the Nothing succeeds in putting some necessary distance between Kelly the recording artist and her shrill, spoilt screen persona.

Osbourne rides the wave drafting L.A.'s favorite collaborator of the last five years, Ms. Linda Perry as writer, producer, chief collaborator, and overall musical director. Kelly and Perry pull out all the stops on Sleeping in the Nothing, stopping at nothing to re-create the robotic pulse and computer gloss of the early '80s. Perry plays and programs nearly every note on the album herself, piling on layers of echoed guitars and cold synths over drum machine loops. Opening track One Word sets the tone with its drum machine and snatches of sampled French. Even though, overridingly, it's also just a smash 'n' grab of Visage's 80s hit, Fade To Grey. The introspection and new-wave sensibilities never let up, through the Blondie vibe of Uh Oh and Redlight, to the danceable Secret Lover (about an ex-boyfriend who didn't want to tell mutual friends they were dating) and techno Suburbia (about one-horse towns with one-track minds). The album moves on in a similar vein and lots of synthy bleeps. There's a few nods to early Madonna, Duran Duran and, unexpectedly, in the middle of Secret Lover, a snarled, tuneless reference to Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory which pokes fun at her on-screen antics without doing so in too heavy-handed a manner. Vocally Kelly proves herself to be far less objectionable then any of the former Spice Girls; the songs have been well tailored to her strengths.

It would be easy to dismiss Kelly Osbourne's musical ambitions based on her royally obnoxious behavior on the family's MTV reality series, her overly manufactured debut album and that voice, which up until now, sounded like cats on a chalkboard. But spare a moment for the bratty singer's follow-up effort, a remarkably faithful new-wave throwback. Producer Linda Perry not only effectively revives the dramatic sounds and melodies of the era but also offers songs that perfectly suit Osbourne's vocal range. People are right to approach the new Kelly Osbourne album with caution (and not just because of her recent personal struggles). But if you get past all the preconceptions Sleeping in the Nothing is perfect guilty-pleasure material. With this album Kelly has taken all the right steps to turn her reality TV notoriety into a workable musical career. She's achieved a sound and look that work well for her.

Rate review3.95
Total votes - 21

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