White Lilies Island
Natalie Imbruglia, the former Aussie soap opera actress?turned?pop star, is fiercely determined to prove she’s no one-VH1-smash wonder. For her second album, White Lilies Island (due March 5), she’s gone so far as to have a hand in writing her own songs (”Torn,” after all, was a cover). Ordinarily, this strategy is a formula for disaster, but Imbruglia knows something about formula. The disc continues in the same vein of agreeable pop-radio fodder as ”Torn,” with an all-new group of distraught romantics and connection seekers singing creamy choruses. ”Wrong Impression,” the first single, is the best and hookiest of them, followed by the swirling tumble of ”That Day” and a power ballad here or there, like ”Do You Love.” Despite Imbruglia’s big, pouty voice, it’s all perfectly pleasant and quickly forgotten; she’s Karen Carpenter with cargo pants, but without the heartbreaking underlying pain. In her way, Imbruglia carries on the do-it-herself values of the Lilith Fair era. But it makes you wonder if merely fair Lilith pop is the legacy Sarah McLachlan had in mind all those years ago.