Most will recognise Martine McCutheon for her role as Natalie in the hugely successful film Love Actually, and so like me, you will probably be surprised to learn that she started off as a singer back in 1999, actually. Her recording contract was sadly dropped in 2002, however after an interval of fifteen long years from the music industry, McCutcheon has released her fourth studio album, Lost and Found.
The lead track Say I’m Not Alone offers “a new beginning” as part of a love story, but it does seem like there’s a much more personal meaning for McCutcheon here. Her recording contract had been cancelled due to the poor sales for her previous album, Musicality, which resulted in her colossal break. These lyrics, as well as the album title itself, come across as metaphors for her return to music.
When you hear the title Paradise and lyrics starting with “Paradise is in your eyes, I saw it for a second”, you automatically brace yourself for a fairytale romance, but McCutcheon switches this to one of heartbreak. The romance turns to grief as “it’s killing me inside, oh you’re breaking me down […] feeling so dark, alone and bruised and twisted.”
McCutcheon draws strength from these negative emotions in Archive. She seems to have an epiphany as she realises “it’s too late baby, guess it’s time to leave you and save me.” Finally she has reached the breaking point where McCutcheon is better off walking away from a futile relationship.
Despite this stance, McCutcheon has included a beautiful cover of the stunning song Every Breath You Take. She has completely stripped back the song, creating a simplified version of the song you should expect to hear at weddings for years to come.
This is a cathartic breakup album, covering mourning, anger, and acceptance. Although it can sound a little generic at times, the familiarity of the music can be comforting, and Martine McCutcheon does have an incredibly sweet voice.