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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than I expected., 5 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
The first time I heard this CD I have to admit I was a little disappointed, the songs didn't seem as strong as on Nik's last record, the mighty '15 Minutes'.After five or six plays I realised just how good it is ! The songs take a while to sink in but then just get better and better the more you hear them.If anything this is an even stronger collection than last time around.This is my humble opinion on each song.
Wounded - The catchiest track and first single,sounds worryingly like a Ricky Martin song but still somehow manages to be great ! 8/10
Get Up - One of Nik's best ever song's.Great chorus. 10/10
Die Laughing - The lyrics are very funny. 8/10
Jane Doe - The 'loudest' track on track on the album.Great guitar and vocals. 9/10
How Sad - Low key,moody song with singalong chorus. 8/10
Take Me To The Church - This my least favourite track, just a little too mushy ! 7/10
Hello World - Brilliant,great lyrics again and a terrific chorus. 9/10
Already - Ditto ! 9/10
One Day - The best song on the CD.Sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to some epic movie! 10/10
All Is Fair - Witty lyrics,made me laugh the first time i heard it. 8/10
Show Them What Your Made Of - Just vocals,acoustic guitar and strings.It ends the record perfectly. 9/10
It's a real crime this music won't be heard by more people and thats my motivation in writing a review ( I'm normally too lazy to bother ! ), if you are in two minds about buying it .. do it !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, originality and variety - what more do you want?, 4 Feb 2004
By 
Andrew Pearce (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Amid the sea of manufactured pop acts and cliched rock groups, this album's genuine originality is a breath of fresh air. Nik Kershaw's 80's hits, while clearly a product of their era, always had a unique sound which placed them above most of the other tracks around at the time, and I think Nik has recaptured this in "To Be Frank".
Nik's previous album "15 Minutes" was excellent, but also felt somewhat generic and mainstream - its excellence was not from doing something different, but from doing it well. "To Be Frank", however, is both well written and original, and has quickly become one of my favourite albums.
I would recommend this album to anybody, whether or not they are a Nik Kershaw fan. This album really has nothing to do with his 80's music except, perhaps, the quality, and the breadth of styles means there's something for most people on it.
It's something of a sad indictment of today's music industry that this album wasn't more popular - it seems that "well crafted" and "popular" are mutually exclusive. Choose the former - buy this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frankly, a breath of fresh air., 5 April 2002
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Admitting you like Nik Kershaw is like admitting you played with your sister's Barbies. Well, I'm only owning up to one of those two and a quick glance at the album score will tell you which one. I'll spend one sentence on 80's comparisons and comeback and stuff like that just to say that it is totally irrelevant. To be Frank is modern, relevant and incredibly good.
Quite why this album has sold so badly is beyond me. There are seven outstanding songs on here, one of which I'm sure could have been a top five hit. Already is the most 'commercial' song Nik has written since I won't let the sun go down all those years ago. It has super, rolling percussion, neat guitar effects, a stirring verse and one of those soar away choruses that you only associate with prolific song writers.
This makes up a crescendo of final tracks joining one day (a mid tempo track exploring the adage that the grass in no more greener on the other side) and all is fair as a coup de grace to the album. The three are as alike as chalk and cheese but each one shows off the reason why Nik is one of the best songwriters there is. The tunes, while being inventive and thoughtful, are simple and easily remembered. The arrangement and production is considered and cumulative: no two parts of the song are identical, to every verse and chorus there is something added to reward continued play. The musical performance is tight and well executed. Ask any guitarist and he'll tell you that Nik finds unusual and original chord changes that make his songs that much better.
There are Latin vibes here (the wonderfully buoyant wounded, released ahead of time in late Spring when it should have been a Summer smash), humour in abundance (as Nik berates his alter ego Frank in die laughing) and, in get up, subject matter that is dear to a majority of us who hate the mornings and curse the end of sleep.
In all it's an inventive, guitar lead fair. Lyrically incisive, musically refreshing and essentially brilliant. Yet, good as it sounds, poor sales and a less than emphatic reception have caused this talented songwriter to hang up his microphone again and concentrate on producing other artist's work. I think this is a travesty when you consider the 'songs' that seem to grace the top 40 at the moment. Do yourself and the music community a favour and buy this album. You won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kershaw Crafts Another Classic, 19 July 2001
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Following his impressive 1999 come back album, "15 Minutes", it was hard to imagine that Nik Kershaw could maintain such a high standard. Well, he has managed to achieve that, and more, with "To Be Frank".
Kershaw manages to combine imagination and wit with an uncanny knack of creating enduring melodies which completely hook you after a couple of plays. Add to this a meaty production with some great guitar sounds and a great singing voice and he should have a massive winner on his hands. Unfortunately, life isn't always like that and I guess a lack of marketing in this age when singer/songwriter craftsmanship loses to boy band covers and warbling divas, means that the inspiration, skill and hard work of Kershaw won't get its just desserts.
The opener to this album, "Wounded", has a great lively Latin feel about it but is so much more than just another attempt to exploit a current fashion. The album then settles down into much more reflective singer/songwriter territory. The lyrics of "Die Laughing" are Kershaw at his best. It's all about someone who is obssessed with the negative..the wasp in the jam, the nail in the car park, the trash in the beauty spot. It has a great a line.."feel sorry for the bug, the one that's up his ass". Another standout track (which one isn't!) is "Already". I guess this is about the rat race.."He's already there, he's already made it, he's already stolen the show, he just don't know" and "too much living and not enough life" are sentiments many of us can identify with. Then there are the tracks where the lyrics are just as relevant to you and me but where the song is just a great pop moment and simply takes over, such as "Hello World" and Jane Doe".
This is truly one great album. It's easy to listen to without being shallow or throw away. Perhaps surprisingly, when you listen to the music of Nik Kershaw the teenage idol of 17 years ago, I think you'll find it gave a hint of what may eventually come. It was not just fluffy pop music. He has carried that skill with him through the years and brought to it a maturity which delivers an irressistible result.
I just wish more people would get to here this. They don't know what they're missing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again, songwriting of brilliant quality !!, 2 July 2001
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Once again we are given the opportunity to sample Nik's ability to write perfectly crafted pop songs. Following on from fifteen minutes, it appears that he hasn't broken stride. The highlights include Wounded which borrows from the current latino fad while bettering anything that Ricky Martin could offer. This is followed by Get Up with it's dark musical vibe contrasting an uplifting chorus. Next is Die Laughing which once again shows Nik's expert lyricism to the full. Jane Doe and How Sad continue the high quality output with the latter having another killer chorus. Take Me To The Church proves that there are still some men able to express their love for someone without resorting to irony and metaphors. Hello World once again shows Nik's ability to write a great hook linking it with a singalong chorus. The production is up to Nik's usual high standard as is the musicianship. Another classy album from a much underated performer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nik is on full form with this latest album, 29 July 2001
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Reading the other reviews on To Be Frank, I cannot but agree that after the wonders of 15 Minutes how would Nik Kershaw deliver the good again. Being a fan from the Human Racing days, every album has been of extremely high quality but To Be Frank and 15 Minutes are albums everyone should have in their collections, they are well crafted and well performed songs, from one of the best songwriters this country has produced. To Be Frank offers more of an insight in to Kershaw's life and indeed everyones life as there are lyics which i am sure everyone can relate too. Get Up is a ode to everyone who likes to lie in bed for too long and then wonder what has happened to the day. Die Laughing the next single is about the times when you just can't be bothered and everyone hates you for it. The stand out tracks for me are Get Up, Die Laughing, Hello World and Already. To sum up BUY THIS ALBUM you will not be disapointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album of the year? Probably!, 20 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Nik Kershaw, that serious pop boy who had a string of catchy hits in the 80s, always could write a good tune. Having only bought one of his singles back then, he's not exactly the artist I'd look for on this site or in the record shops. But, having heard the first single Wounded, I thought it would be interesting to give him a listen, so I bought Frank. With so much dross around at the moment it came as a refreshing surprise to hear this album.
The first track, Wounded, has to be the best single of 2001 although the record buying public failed to pick up on that - without doubt due to the lack of airplay. If it ever gets on a TV ad. it would be huge. Tracks such as Jane Doe, Die Laughing and Take me to the Church show Nik can still write great songs and this CD soon becomes the one you can't stop playing. Brilliant stuff. Five stars. Buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nik gets better and better!!, 7 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Having fondly remembered Nik's hits of the 80's, when I heard he was bringing out '15 Minutes' in 1999, I was eager to hear how his music would sound so many years on. '15 Minutes' was superb! So when 'To Be Frank' was released I was afraid he might not be able to recreate the 'wow factor' I received from '15 Minutes'. I WAS SO WRONG! 'To Be Frank' is, in my opinion, the album of the year. Every song has something going for it, be it humourous lyrics, catchy hooks (which Nik is so good at), or just great production. It's the sort of album you put on the CD player whilst going about daily chores, but soon find yourself doing nothing but listening to the great tracks. It is such a shame more people don't hear this album. For the record, Get Up (was this written for me?) and Die Laughing are my favourites, but then all the tracks are... just buy it and see for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get much better than this., 18 Aug 2001
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Spread the word. This is a stunning album from a wonderfully gifted artist. Cast aside any pre-conceptions you may harbour from his days as a 1980's synthesised pop icon, for this superb collection of songs reveal Nik Kershaw to be unquestionably the best songwriter to emerge from his generation. You may have heard it before, but believe me, there is not a weak track on the album. So pay your money and you'll get eleven astounding melodies, fresh lyrical twists, and arrangements that transform these remarkably crafted songs into a remarkably crafted record. If rock / pop / indie / guitar is your genre, you will not find a better album in 2001.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best albums of 2001, 7 May 2002
This review is from: To Be Frank (Audio CD)
Though ignored by most of the media , on its release last year , this album deserves to gain reconision by word of mouth, of what a fine songwriting talent Nik Kershaw is .
Opening with title track that just says no matter what problems your going through , theres always hope , and sounding like Labama which is no bad thing , its is a perfect way to kick of the album in style.
Next to 'Get up' an anthem track ,which yo acn just imagine Robbie Williams singing at wembley arena , a pure crowding pleasing track.
Die Laughing is a track with such a sense of humour ,poking fun at how we have reasons for not doing some things , the guitars and drums and vocal style really work well to the punchly finally of the track , whih atkes us to a nighout with frank.
Jan Doe is a classic rock and roll style track , alot like the material Nik worked with 'Let loose' in the mid ninetys , which is als a collaboration with Chesney Hawkes , how shares co writing credit on the track.
Move on to how sad , which isa deserved number one , which really shows how much better Nik has got at is craft since the teen star days of the mid eighties.
Take me to the church and Hello world continue his fine music punchie style trend on the album.
So to already in my opinion the best track on the album , which has so many good lines , for example 'it will never be rght to one of them sees , the proverbial woods from the proverbial trees'. The Guitar work is very good , but no big guitar solos like in the mid eighties , just very interesting chord changes.
So to One day , All is fair and to show them what they mad of , which is sort of goodbye for moment track. Now Nik has moved back out of the limelight , to concentrate on producing and writing for artists . There is talk of him releasing new material over the internet so stay tuned on that .
I can't higher reoommend this album enough , so what are you waiting for buy it today , and see what a great underated talent Nik is .
John Tomkins England
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To Be Frank
To Be Frank by Nik Kershaw (Audio CD - 2002)
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