WORTH A LOOK?: ***
TRACKLIST: Daniel; Crying On The Bathroom Floor; Till There’s Nothing Left; Indestructible; Strong; I Follow Rivers; Everything Is Embarrassing; Losing You; Missing; Elizabeth Taylor
We last saw Will Young on stage in 2018 in Strictly Ballroom in London’s West End and for this, his 1st studio album since 2019’s Lexicon, he has decided to cover songs made famous by female artists.
- Read on for reasons including how to see Will on tour in London next month
It’s a neat idea and the album is most successful on its opening track, the cover of Bat For Lashes’ Daniel, produced by long-time collaborator Richard X, which embellishes the original with a 70s dance floor strut that reminds us of Donna Summer.
The only of the 10 songs we were familiar with in their original versions before this album was Robyn‘s Indestructible and Everything But The Girl’s Missing.
Other than Daniel, the best interpretations here are those which have been chosen to pave the way for the album’s release and Will’s versions of both Elizabeth Taylor and Crying On The Bathroom Floor have made us curious to seek out more music by their authors Clare Maguire and MUNA.
Elizabeth Taylor pulls off the enviable lyrical trick of rhyming ‘Bacardi’ with ‘afterparty’ while Crying seems well-timed during a pandemic but also underlines how a male voice fronting a female-penned song can spin a new perspective on it.
We’re slightly less sure of this album in its renditions of those 2 songs we do know because Indestructible and Missing are reproduced in a tasteful, middle-of-the-road form which will surely bring their original authors to a wider audience but for us dial down the bombastic electronic keyboard highs of the former and deep-voiced yearning of the latter.
Elsewhere, and we’re a little surprised by its brevity at 10 tracks and would have perhaps preferred an extra couple of covers to sink our teeth into.
While there seems much to be impressed by, it’s a collection that never allows us to enjoy ourselves so much that we lose ourselves in it.
The limitations of course of a covers album is that while it allows us to speculate on the mindset of the singer through the material chosen it never fully allows the curtain to be opened on exactly what they are thinking.
Perhaps more enjoyable will be those forthcoming east London gigs, details below, which will give Young an opportunity to reflect on his 20-plus year career in both musical theatre and pop.