The Fifth Chapter

Beverley Knight

Tag8/BMG, 2023

REVIEW BY: Peter Piatkowski


United Kingdom soul legend Beverley Knight’s latest album The Fifth Chapter arrives a whopping six years after her last two studio albums, 2016’s solo album Soulsville and 2017’s Songs From The Stage, a Broadway album she recorded with Amber Riley and Cassidy Janson. In the ensuing six years, Knight wasn’t silent, though, appearing on the West End as well as doing TV and stage work. By the time she got around to releasing another album, Knight had established herself as an icon. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Fifth Chapter is a smart way for the singer to return to pop music. Working with a group of strong songwriters and producers seems to have made The Fifth Chapter a safe—yet enjoyable—effort for Knight. Covering her bases, the album includes some stirring ballads and sassy soul numbers, as well as some jazzy dance songs. The London Community Gospel Choir also joins Knight on several inspiring, moving tracks, adding a dash of celestial soul to the record.

The best songs on The Fifth Chapter bring Beverley Knight to the dance floor. Though the singer had paid tribute to classic soul throughout her career—even recording a pair of albums dedicated to American soul music and British soul—she finds spirit and energy when channeling her inner Donna Summer. On the neo-disco stomper “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” Knight joins the London Community Gospel Choir for a feel-good anthem that powers on good will and joy. The album’s first single, “Last One On My Mind” is great to move to with an easy, smooth beat. “Someone Else’s Problem” is an angular, Chic-like tune that is another highlight.

Though stately ballads like the dramatic “Not Prepared For You” and the inspirational “Cold War” show off Knight’s supple, passionate vocals beautifully, she would do well to consider devoting her next LP to dance music. As heard on the quicker, up-tempo tunes, this grand superstar has the goods and chops to be the most fabulous of dance divas.

Rating: B

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