Review – Now & forever

Absurdly, Kim Wilde is the most successful British female solo artist of all time, with album sales of six million around a baffled world. A career-long top blonde with a voice that’s more likable than impressive, she has exploited her abilities with panache. Who else could record Cambodia, a song based on the USA’s secret bombing of Kampuchea in the 1980s and make it catchy pop hit? Who else could give Junior Giscombe a hit? She’s a classic pop act, adapting to prevailing trends like a blank canvas. Now And Forever sees her going all soulish. Like Kylie Minogue, Wilde has taken on the trappings of swingbeat, soft soul and jazziness; unlike the Australian, she’s done so with convincing songs, invested with enough charisma to make them hers. This I Swear is slight but melodic and charming, while High On You is eminently catchy in a kind of gutsy Five Star way. Now And Forever treads a fine line between character and anonymity, which makes it acceptable both in the home and the clothes shop, but it will offend no-one.