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Letters CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 225 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 Oct. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B004I9SJRA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,094 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

CD Description

The rasp of Matt Cardle's vocal on X Factor has gone, with a far smoother delivery; he still has a full strength falsetto in his armoury, which is used sparingly but efficiently across the album. Matt has laid his emotions and relationship frailties bare on this album, with help from his A&R man Chris Briggs, who famously teamed Robbie Williams with Guy Chambers. The album also includes the track "Run For Your Life", written by Gary Barlow.

BBC Review

Humble, self-deprecating, likeable: Simon Cowell can appear to be none of these things, and yet last Christmas his televisual fungus produced a genuinely popular, modest winner. X Factor lovers and haters alike agree that Matt Cardle has a decent voice and inoffensive demeanour. Optimists may have hoped he'd spend 2011 recording an album of musical merit and even some emotion, a welcome change from the processed dance-pop or saccharine ballads which generally emerge from such coddled, cosseted 'champions'.

Sadly, Letters is over-produced to a point where what distinguished Cardle from the Cheryl clones and cheeky boys is lost. Amid a barrage of formulaically chugging soft-rock structures and overwhelming strings, the poor chap struggles to be present. Boy does he struggle. You can just about discern him straining every vocal cord to display 'real' passion, but he's swamped in what the industry thinks of as 'epic' studio mannerisms. Almost every verse builds 'perfectly' like a Take That song; every chorus enters with the big crashing guitars of a Snow Patrol anthem or the heft of a hired orchestra.

Lest we forget: Cardle stood out when he emerged because his voice conveyed intimacy, vulnerability, even - dare we say - soul. His collaborators have shoved him in a corner and said: "Leave this to us sonny, we know what we're doing." So despite working with proven writers, from Eg White to Starsailor's James Walsh to, er, Gary Barlow, Cardle never gets to be the guy he wants to be. That would be (he's said) Ray LaMontagne or Percy Sledge. One wonders if he went home at night assuming he'd cut a LaMontagne-style track (possibly All for Nothing), only to return the next morning to find it swaddled in excess.

From the opening Starlight with its falsetto swoops to the faltering Slowly (where every syllable gets the trademark I'm-low-now-I'm-high treatment), from Barlow's plodding Run for Your Life to the try-hard title-track, the album slides into mainstream mush, always generic, rarely genuine. So many times does Cardle sing words like "honest", "true", "heart" and "soul" that one imagines this must hurt him more than it hurts us.

--Chris Roberts

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I brought this album because I love Matt's voice. I honestly think I would enjoy him singing exerts from the phone book to random tunes, but that isn't what makes Matt unique as an X-factor contestant, nor as an X-factor winner, because lets face it once you get past boot camp, with the odd noteable exception, all of the finalists can sing. What makes Matt unique is that he has true musical talent. Being able to hold a tune is not a unique skill amongst the population, being able to mesmerise an audience or sing something in such a way that it pulls emotion from the audience is, and Matt has that quality, whatever it is, the stuff that you can't invent, can't buy, can't practice your way into, can't even always put your finger on exactly what 'it' is- talent? charisma? musicality? Whatever it is Matt has it in abundance and it makes him a joy to listen to and a pleasure to watch perform.

I doubt that a studio produced album will ever do him justice because part of what Matt has comes out of the performance and from the limited amounts I've seen of that, the X-factor, some you-tube clips, live performance is his forte. Singing live in front of an audience is his spiritual home and he drags you there too, until you're not just listening you're experiencing.

Having said that I think this album is amazing. It's one of those albums that slowly eeks its way into your consciousness. You'll like the tracks the first time you hear them, by the fourth or fifth listening you'll positively LOVE them! You'll have a favourite and then it will change because as you get to know each song you'll appreciate its personality, its quirks, you'll get caught up in the lyrics and the rhythms.
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Format: Audio CD
If you are a Matt Cardle fan you will love Letters, no pun intended. Easy to listen to and he has such an amazing voice. He has been my all time favourite from X Factor and I highly recommend this album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This has to be one of the most sincere singers I have heard for many years!

I don't give much time to new singers these days - much less talent shows and reality tv and so I had never heard of Matt Cardle. I caught him at the end of 'Loose Women' one afternoon (which I don't normally watch) as I waited for 'Judge Judy' - performing one of his songs, and I thought what an exciting and sincere singer this is! I then went straight on to Amazon feeling I'd like to hear more of this guy's original work, as I don't like covers, and played the samples from this album - and at the ridiculously low price of four pounds, just had to have it!

Normally in recent years after purchasing new CDs, I tend to listen once - maybe twice and put it aside, unlike years ago when a new album was played to death. However; this has definitely been different, as it's never been out of my player and/or in my CD rack! It's simply a masterpiece! Every song seems to belong on the album - and the order was perfect - except somehow 'Slowly' - the penultimate track seemed like the last one - then came another - the final one which was odd for some reason.

I admire singer/songwriters, and all of the songs are atmospheric, and have great lyrics. Some end quite abruptly - which is different. My favourite song of all (if I was forced to pick one - which is pretty tricky as all the songs are so good) would have to be: 'Pull Me Under'.

I was flabbergasted to find that this album peaked only at number two (should have been a chart-topper) and his singles do not seem to have done too well chart-wise either - people cannot know great music when they hear it...

What an exciting new singer - will definitely be buying his next album on the strength of this!
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Not a bad song, they are all beautiful and you can fully appreciate his voice.
amazing and I would recommend that anyone should buy it.
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I loved Matt when he was on X Factor and was a worthy winner, but I have to admit I nearly didn't buy this album because of some negative reviews. That said I bought it and absolutely love it! Yes, it is a tad over produced(to be expected)which takes the rawness off his voice, however, "All For Nothing" is much more the real Matt, and similar in style to the music he made with Seven Summers. "Starlight" is my favourite track, and "Pull Me Under" is in the style of Robbie Williams/Take That. I suspect that Matt will move away from the mainstream and develop his own style as time goes by, X Factor having given him the platform that he needed.
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I love this album. It could have done with a few more upbeat songs, for example I would definitely have included the free download 'Sparks' - it topped the Amazon download charts for ages. (I cant believe such a fantastic song was thrown away like that!) Having said that though there are some really memorable tracks here, all co written by Matt C apparently - Starlight, Letters, Stars and Lovers, Amazing, Pull Me Under...there isnt actually a poor song on the album, though its so varied some will appeal more to different individuals than others. BTW Im not at all surprised by the review from the BBC guy Amazon have helpfully (not) put in the description section - Id have been astonished if he'd done anything other than sneer (with staggering unoriginality) at a male XF winner. To be honest I wouldn't have considered buying an XF album myself before this, which shows I've been as blinkered as anyone when it comes to pseudishness. But since seeing some YT of Matt C playing a couple of Scottish gigs a few weeks ago, watching the odd interview with him, (and reading some tabloid hatchet jobs too), I went for this , and I am very, very glad I did.

Reading some of the reviews here I dont quite get what people mean by 'overproduced'. Thats a really subjective thing. Whats overproduced for you isn't necessarily overproduced for me. Its like calling a steak thats done medium well - overcooked. It is, if you like your steak rare, but its not at all if you like it more... cooked!
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