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Natalie Imbruglia

Left of the Middle ~ A cross between Alanis Morissette and Kylie Minogue, you couldn't engineer a more likely late '90s pop star than Natalie Imbrugila if you tried. Blessed with a stunning bone structure and a passable voice, Australian soap star Imbruglia and producer Phil Thornally turned Ednaswap's gritty "Torn" into a swirling pop confection. Nothing else on her debut quite matches it, in part because Left of the Middle hews closer to the center than it cares to admit. Imbruglia manages to touch on a wide range of female styles--angry ("One More Addiction"), electronica ("Big Mistake"), and yearning ("Smoke")--without leaving her fingerprints on any of them. --Steven Mirkin



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