ALBUM REVIEW: MATT CARDLE – LETTERS
In the past few weeks Matt Cardle seems to have pulled every trick possible to get us to literally hate this album. All his talk of credibility and him ‘hating’ singing Katy Perry with his yellow trousers on X Factor didn’t really endear him to us. He has also been bashing SyCo as a record company (how stupid) and saying he’s glad he’s part signed in part to Columbia as they also release Kings of Leon and Bruce Springsteen records…then there’s lead single ‘Run for your Life’ it entered this weeks chart at number 6 – written by Gary Barlow it was probably a Take That D-side cast off – not much to get excited about. BUT having said that we shall give this album a chance, so lets get on with it…
Starlight is a good opening track, much better than ‘Run for Your Life’ – you wonder whether it was released just to tie into the Gary Barlow/X Factor script? Starlight has much more drama to it and a good rock/pop vibe. Matt co-wrote a lot of the album with Starsailor’s lead singer James Walsh and his influence is apparent. All For Nothing is a similar fair – lots of strings and falsetto from Matt as he laments over losing a love.
Pull Me Under steps up the tempo a little bit into Maroon 5 territory – the lighter approach suits Matt more – it’s a pity they took so much of the album into the soft-rock and formulaic ‘build to the chorus, introduce some strings’ structure. Amazing has a nice rhythm to it but it’s back to love and talk of ‘angels’ – perhaps designed to attract Matt’s female fans? Faithless is another love song with strings and guess what it also builds to a chorus. Beat of a Breaking Heart is as depressing as it sounds.
Stars and Lovers picked things up a little – again it leaves us wishing they’d let him do this more. The sounds reminds us of Arcade Fire on this track – this is a good thing. Also his voice slips into a Flaming Lips style – it makes for a much more interesting track.
Letters (co-written by David Sneddon from Fame Academy) and Reflections slip back into the same formula – one that is getting very boring by this point. Reflections in particular really made us squirm with its lyrics. Walking on Water and Slowly are also high on misery and you guessed it…strings and a build up to the chorus.
Last track is When We Collide – what can we say Biffy Clyro did it better. On the deluxe edition there then follows another 5 tracks more on an acoustic setting – Matt’s voice sounds good on them but jeez it’s more doom and gloom from the production.
We feel for Matt Cardle – he has talked often of the sort of artist he wants to be and it’s not this album. Either he has given up on that dream or every-time he left a track with his production team it was changed from a simple tune more in line with Ray Lamontagne (who he has often referenced) to the string-laden blub-fest track. Perhaps Matt just doesn’t have the confidence or the skills to produce that album he can hear in his head… either way the album is boring, there we’ve said it. If he wanted to be more credible he hasn’t achieved it – the whole album is too formulaic the sort Louis Walsh would probably love. It’s all a bit overwrought and grimacy – would have been nice for some happiness on the album – 80% of the tracks just blend together into a big sad depressing mix.
PopLedge: 3/10 – sorry Matt you can’t break the X Factor male winners curse
Tracks you would keep on your iPod – Starlight, All For Nothing, Stars and Lovers and Pull Me Under.
Listen to this if you like: Westlife, Boyzone, Snow Patrol or Peter Andre.