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Will Young - Echoes
on 22 August 2011
"Echoes", the fifth studio album by Will Young, is released exactly 10 years after his first Pop Idol audition- and it seems a sensible sentiment to release this album at this time because it really shows how Will has grown in the last ten years. This album is a world away from the blinding obvious song choices on his debut album, and the move is definitely a move in the right direction.
The album is a decadent masterpiece. Undoubtedly the best thing he's ever done, the album stands out for its quality and assurance in the mainstream pop market, and is definitely the finest release of this year, and the best yet in Will's career- it's wonderfully written and sculpted, and the album's sound is a juxtaposition of strong and tender sounds with strong and vulnerable vocals. The craftsmanship of this music is second-to-none and the music is unforgettably addictive.
Lyrically, it takes a natural step on from 2008 release "Let It Go" and continues to be personal, emotive and underplayed, but musically it jumps in an entirely different direction. The album is produced by Richard X, although I don't think that really gives anyone an idea of what to expect because it's not how I thought it would sound at all!
`Jealousy' is a very good example of what to expect sound- and theme-wise from this album, and that's probably the best I can do when it comes to describing what this album is like because the whole collection's sound it is so simple and unique that I don't think I could do it justice! It has elements of Everything But The Girl, Hurts, The Honeymoon and The Eurhythmics about it- but I really don't think this really even half describes what you can expect from this collection of songs!
I will however say that it's an emotive and eclectic collection of very personal and very delicate songs, with lots of falsetto and a chilled-out dance sound. The whole affair is very much a tight-body of work, but each track also stands strongly alone- in fact I don't think I'd be overdoing it by stating that each song is like a little musical piece of art! It's carefully played out- there's no overdoing of the vocals on this album, no excessive instrumentation or overdependence on electronics to create an epic, euphoric sound- this is comes naturally to the albums and it's basically as stripped back as an electro-dance album can be and it's magically brilliant.
I love each track across the board, but I will comment on a few particular favourite tracks.
`Silent Valentine' and `Outsider' are two fantastic ballads with an excellent and gentle atmospheric sound, the former having a twinge of an anthemic-ballad about it, whilst `Safe From Harm' is probably the album's most personal and emotive song and is truly delightful. Meanwhile `Losing Myself' and `Come On' are bigger- well, bigger in comparison to the previously mentioned three- with more synths and stronger vocals- the former of these two sounds very 80's influenced and is definitely one of my favourites.
`Hearts on Fire' is actually the album's stand out track, it encrypts all of the album's flavours and sounds and is executed marvellously- it has a delicious guitar riff and wonderful electrobeats, with powerful lyrics and delicate vocals and a wonderful twinge of summer to it.
"Echoes" really is one of the finest albums around. Will has never been better or stronger, and this really demonstrates what a true master of musicianship he really is. The album is as sensual as it is tender and gentile, and is incredibly powerful despite being relaxed and simple, which is what makes this album so magical. Any doubts I had about Will Young being able to pull this off have been completely and utterly erased; I really cannot praise "Echoes" enough and I hugely recommend it without reserve!