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Friday, October 17, 2008


ModMusic: Will Young

Technically it's cheating for a Stateside blog to review Will Young's latest disc, Let It Go; the album hasn't been released yet in the U.S., and maybe never be. That's our loss, because Young -- the openly gay winner of the first season of Pop Idol, and the only truly significant artist to emerge from the Idol reality chain besides Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry -- has become one damn fine vocalist over the years. With a sweet high tenor which fits airily on top of pop songs like a cherry on a sundae, Young has improved his songwriting and style to a point where he'll probably have a long and prosperous career, America be damned.

It's not too far out to guess that Young's inability to gain a foothold here is due to his sexuality; the same problem affects most gay acts these days, including fellow European hitmakers Scissor Sisters and Sam Sparro. There's also a gentility to Young's best work -- a fragile tremble in the vocals ("Tell Me The Worst") or a plaintive approach to arrangements ("If Love Equals Nothing") -- that doesn't fit well with the strip-club mentality of most contemporary pop music.

But what Young does have, in spades, is an uncanny sense of his own personal music, and where he fits in the pop pantheon. Listening to the tightly-produced Let It Go, I was struck by the piano-banging "I Won't Give Up," which could have been a hit in the days when Billy Joel and George Michael ruled the charts; the urgent bass line of "Love," which sounds like a lost Michael Jackson album track from Off The Wall; and the jazzy smudges of "Are You Happy," unquestionably my favorite selection, which literally had my feet tapping on a first listen. There's a serious artist buried under the pop veneer of Will Young, and Let It Go gives us an inkling of the treasures he'll unearth in the years to come.
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Blogger André said...

Wow, great source of info and news.

Thanks specialy for the Will Young post.

Take care!

10/20/08, 6:01 PM  

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