Most helpful critical review
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Shayne under achieves
on 22 November 2010
In the days before 'The X Factor' became totally ridiculous and failed to create any stars, Shayne Ward stood out as one of the most worthy winners. A good-looking young man with a decent, versatile voice, the future looked bright for him. Indeed, his self-titled debut album was a big seller, though the bloom was off the rose for his second effort, 'Breathless' 18 months later. Despite producing 2 top 10 hits, the album fell off the charts quite quickly and Shayne seemed to have lost direction.
Skip forward 3 years and he's back in an uncertain market, ripped and waxed beyond recognition, and with a Nickelback cover as first single off his new album! Said song, 'Gotta Be Somebody' isn't actually bad and is one of the most commercial tracks on 'Obsession'. Sadly, the single has underperformed, peaking at #12 thus severely hampering the new album's chances of success. It does seem lazy chucking out a cover after 3 years away, but when you hear the rest of Shayne's latest, you can see they didn't have much of a choice...
'Obsession' is a strange album. At 10 tracks and barely 38 minutes in length, it doesn't feel like it was 3 years in the making. There's another cover too, a cod-reggae attempt at 'Nobody Knows'. I know it originally came out in the 90s but can't for the life of me remember who did it. It is/was staggeringly dull, though.
For me, the worst thing about 'Obsession' is what has been done to Ward's voice. It's smothered in effects from start to finish, and despite his distinctive falsetto being overused, it could be anyone. Any old fans expecting a 'That's My Goal' or 'No Promises' will be bitterly disappointed here as none of the songs stand out and I struggle to see a second single. It seems a real shame that obviously a great deal of work has gone into the making of this album with such so-so results.
Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not a bad album. It's pleasant and undemanding but I doubt it will do much for Ward's career and have a sneaking suspicion that album #4 will be a long time in coming...