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By Bill Brotherton
Friday, July 18, 2008 -
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Five years ago, Goodrem was on top of the world: her star turn on Australian TV soap “Neighbours,” also a launching pad for Kylie Minogue and Natalie Imbruglia, helped her debut album shoot to No. 1 throughout Europe. Then came a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and she was fighting for her life. Now healthy, the 23-year-old singer/songwriter is ready to conquer America. Her U.S. debut is a refreshingly schmaltz-free, though slickly produced pop album that will appeal to both preteens and grandmas. Her strong, soaring soprano impresses throughout, especially on piano ballads “I Can’t Break It to My Heart” and “Born to Try.” Goodrem is poised to be the Aussie of the aughts. Download: “In This Life.”

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