NATALIE IMBRUGLIA will be marking the 25th anniversary of her landmark album ‘Left Of The Middle’ with a series of special live shows in October.

A celebration of the album that made her a global star, the tour will see the Australian/British star revisiting the multi-platinum debut album, as well as hits from her accomplished career to date plus songs from her latest album ‘Firebird’.

I have so much to say about this, but for our reader’s sake and for poor Sally’s peace of mind, I’ll keep it brief and select the tracks that really stood out for me.

But first before we do that… we need to know where this is coming from.

I was 11 when Neighbours first came on in the UK. It was a whole new show, Australian accents, constant sunshine and a whole difference from the murder capital of London – Eastenders which was still fresh out of the box at barely a year old. With that show came a bevvy of talent – Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, being two of them. 

Some people may question my use of the word talent here, given the era and the brand of bubble gum pop that they brought with them – but it’s subjective and I am a fan still – I have no shame in admitting that. I will listen to Stevie Wonder, Oasis and all that’s considered “cool” music but S/A/W were one of the reasons why I got into synth programming and writing with my keyboard when I was 14 and I am eternally grateful.

Anyway the years went on, and the Australian invasion continued through the nineties – Natalie Imbruglia continued the trend of actors and actresses coming through and switching over to music, and she came crashing onto the scene with a brilliant song – “Torn”.

This was followed by an album which we will now break down. 

The album “Left Of The Middle” was released in November 1997 and consisted of 12 tracks and was very much against the whole bubble pop thing she could have gone down the route of dance records or the Spice Girls who were dominating the charts at the time, but she went the alternative route, in the footsteps of Alanis and Sheryl.. Barbed lyrics and flithy guitars and all… All songs are very listenable, Natalie doesn’t let me down with her vocals on the opening track, the aforementioned “Torn”, she starts off lower in the register, and really opens up in the chorus… she makes it one of those songs you can really want to sing along to, it’s radio friendly and… just so catchy. I remember one time, I was walking past a bar in Lewisham and I heard a young girl singing this, sometime in the 2000s and it just whisked me back to 1997 again…. What a tune. 

Big Mistake was another single from the album, I really like this one, Natalie really rips into this one, and she does it with gusto, the dynamics are up and down, and the use of the synthesiser chords in the prechorus are delicious, love the progression on this… Very Alanis on this!

808s and heartbreak? Yes… I know it’s a Kanye reference. Stay with me here.

This is how we get introduced to “Smoke”, and this is my favourite song from the album, possibly one of my favourite songs of all time. The intro comes in with a steady drum beat, and Natalie comes in with a vocal that still gives me goosebumps. I have to admit that this song gets me a little emotional, for different reasons but I think that this song had Natalie reach into a dark place because her vocals seem to crack on this… It’s on the chorus where she lets loose and for me the producer captured a beautiful performance here. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how I listen to music, I get deep into it, I want to connect with everything here. And this song helped me to connect deeper, the lyrics speak of pain, a broken relationship between parents…. It’s just one of those songs that make you think what happened?

On the whole the album is an album of the era, the 90s were when women came out and stood up to their male counterparts who were dominating the charts at the time, and showing they could be just as strong. This album is no different and should by no means be overlooked.

Full dates and details are as follows:

Natalie Imbruglia
25 Years of Left Of The Middle

-October 2022 –
Mon 10 – Bristol SWX
Wed 12 – London O2 SBE
Fri 14 – Bexhill De La Warr
Sun16 – Manchester O2 Ritz
Mon 17 – Birmingham O2 Institute
Tue 18 – Glasgow SWG3

Tickets will go on sale Friday 18th February HERE

Article by Del Owusu