22-year-old Londoner David Jordan, a former Starbucks employee, is the latest singer to be touted as the saviour of British soul. His good looks and savvy dress sense immediately place him in the style-over-substance category, but Set the Mood shows he's got some talent to back it all up. Produced and recorded by Trevor Horn (Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Pet Shop Boys) Set the Mood sees Jordan mix up a few different styles--r & b, rock, electronic, soul--and come off like a cross between Terence Trent D'Arby and Prince. Kick off track "On the Money," a huge, guitar-drenched track, is more showy than it needs to be, but Jordan soon finds his métier on tunes such as single "Place in My Heart", "Glorious Day" and the title track. These songs are more catchy and Prince-like (especially when Jordan pulls out his impressive falsetto), although they all pale in comparison with "Sun Goes Down," which pulls off the quite admirable feat by merging Olde English folk music with a modern soul sensibility. It sounds awful on paper but it's the most infectious jig this side of the 16th century. Unfortunately ballads like "Sweet Prince" and "Only Living Soul" are much more clichéd, while others such as "Move On" aren't anywhere as innovative as they could--and should--be. Though David Jordan is undeniably talented, Set the Mood suggests he has a while to go before he reaches his creative peak. --Danny McKenna
David Jordan is a rarity. The 21 year old Londoner has not been voted for by the viewing public in some Saturday night popularity contest. Nor does he push his tunes with camp gimmicry like Mika. Instead David Jordan is a straight-faced singer aiming to make British pop respectable.
As a whole, Set The Mood works as a soul pop album, although it falls asleep at the wheel a few times. Opening track "On The Money" fails to create a memorable first impression, trying rather too hard to be a 'big' sounding track, but instead conjuring the image of bedroom desktop mixing software.
The standout track is "Sun Goes Down", where synth-pop meets Ye Olde English folk; a night out in London becomes a celebratory pagan ritual. The track shows up that Jordan is strongest when making something new and original instead of reverting to standard pop ballads like "Only Living
His PR propaganda proudly states Jordan is the first artist taken on by manager Andy Stevens since George Michael as if it's a badge of honour. But it's unfair to compare him to the Wham! man. Instead Jordan is more like Prince; he definitely has an 80s feel to him - which is hardly progressive - but he's good at it!
All said, then, David looks like a potential pop star and almost sounds like it already. From his cheek bones to his fashion sense he's got the looks too. Given he's on top of his ability to sing and write songs, a record label could mistake him for the messiah. He's so label perfect he
could possibly have been made in a laboratory, cloned from the DNA of Lenny Kravitz, Prince and Michael Jackson. Although the scientists forgot to give this science experiment a little soul.
Whether he'll become a British Justin Timberlake adored by millions of young ladies or end up becoming something you would buy for your mum remains to be seen. But he's certainly in with a chance! --Sean Cameron
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UK version includes one bonus track, On the Money. David Jordan delivers contemporary British pop in an exciting new direction with searing rock guitars, throbbing party rhythms and blissful melodies. He draws influences from Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, James Brown, Prince, Lenny Kravitz and even Guns & Roses. Each song in the album exudes a different flavor, bringing you on an eclectic journey. Universal. 2007.