By Mikael Wood
Updated December 01, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST

This English singer?s chirpy ”Unwritten” never suited the airbrushed cynicism of The Hills, for which it served as the theme song until the reality series? finale earlier this year. Minus that moral counterweight, though, Natasha Bedingfield?s relentlessly earnest up-with-people pop can really grate: Strip Me, her third studio disc, plays like one long, increasingly desperate pep talk. The only breather? ”Unexpected Hero,” a lovely late-Beatles-style ballad. C

Download These:
Unexpected Hero, produced by Sia collaborator Dan Carey at

See all of this week’s reviews