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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Fire
Format: Audio CDChange
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2012
When Matt announced his new album to be more upbeat and rocky than his last I was kinda torn and didn't quite know what to make of it or what to hope for.
On one hand I knew about his past with Seven Summers and newer tracks like "Chemical" which almost got a real hard rock edge to them. On the other hand there were all the songs from Letters he rearranged for being performed live on his tour, most famously "Beat of a breaking heart". If you watched him live or on YouTube you will know what I mean.

A first taste of what he'd been up to came a few weeks later with the radio release of "It's only love". The explosive opening line "It's a kick in the head" nicely sums up the reaction I had to it on the first listen ... and all subsequent ones, of which there are many *g*
And it doesn't stop there. When the album preview became available a few short days later I found myself completely blown away.

I never expected it to be like this ... to like it that much.
No other album or artist in the last 20-odd years has ever done this to me - well, apart from Letters that is. And now Matt Cardle did it again, hands down!
Just as with Letters none of these new tracks feel like they are becoming boring or even obtrusive, not even after a few good listens. Instead they dragged me in, became more fascinating, hypnotizing even.

Each track of "The Fire" has its own character and style.
The lyrics positively seem to fuse with the music without being either repetitive or drifting off into an unoriginal drone.

"It's only love" is a ludicrous (to be taken in the most positive sense) 80th power ballad with an unmistakable und highly memorable onset and a few bars of country in between.

Both "The Fire" and "Anywhere" are outstanding tracks that show with which ease Matt's voice skips in and out of his marvelous falsetto. A head bopping rollercoaster ride right across his full vocal range.

"For every heartbreak" and "Your somebody" (for the time being only available via iTunes) very much sound like old (well, not at all that old) times with Seven Summers.

"Water" ... O.M.F.G!!! I have no words!! On the first play of the preview I almost spurted mineral water out my nose all over the keyboard (note to self: no more eating or drinking while listening to new tracks). Eat your heart out, Kate Bush! And then there are the lyrics ... lyrics that will turn you into a blubbering mess for sure if you can relate to them just in the slightest. Beware.

"Anyone else" captures the essence of the most defining "Jacksons"-tracks ... and then some. It took me a few listens and, finally, a little peek into the booklet to realize what Matt was actually singing. I never thought I'd be treated to an infamous (yet skillfully implied) 4-letter word in one of his songs. Naughty naughty, Mr. Cardle!
But do I like it? You bet I do!

"Empire" and "Lately" at the same time are contemplative and yet optimistic pieces. "Empire" leaves you singing along with its catchy chorus while "Lately" is a rather brilliant mix of gospel und rock.

"All that matters" is another one of the 3 slow tracks on this album. It comes fairly close to what you might be used to from Letters, yet more poignant.

No need to delve deeper into "The first time" unless you have been living in a hole for the last 2 years straight or are unable to type "Matt Cardle" into YouTube's search bar. I hope you're not ;-)

There is not one bad track for me and I could listen to any of them on infinite repeat.
The only reason this doesn't work is because I start missing all the other songs so badly I have to put them back on my playlist. Oh well, I had worse problems. LOL :-)

Each and every track on this album is worthy to become a single.
If the likes of Freddy Mercury, Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, BonJovi a.o. go a long way with you this album surely will not disappoint.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2012
This album rocks, has soul, is supremely funky and even bluesy at times. It doesnt just defy genres it has become its own genre....Matt Cardle and it is a super collection of well crafted tracks that should appeal to everyone. If there is any justice this album should show his critics how popular his music will become. I am happy to have discovered his music but he deserves to be listened to by more people. That he will end up being liked by these people is a foregone conclusion.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2012
Was looking forward to hearing this after seeing Matt split from Simon Cowell's clutches and produce an album that he wanted to make and you can really tell, it's fantastic! So much more upbeat and catchy than his last album with an array of different sounds from Every Heartbreak which sounds like it could have been off his pre x factor bands album to the superbly dark Water and awesome Empire. A really great album, well done Matt!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2012
Apart from a cover version of "When We Collide", and a song Gary Barlow knocked out, Cardle's first album was a disappointing and forgettable exercise in over-production that showed that if you don't fit into the Syco pop poppet mould they haven't got a clue what to do with you. It did look like Matt had used up his fifteen minutes of fame on the game show that saw Rebecca Ferguson and a One Direction trail in his wake.
Then, Matt Cardle only goes and records what is a damned fine album of songs that defy you to skip over them. On first listen I thought the lad had been listening to U2, by the time the songs were on my iPod I was thinking that maybe U2 should be listening to him.
The song I love the most on this album is "Empire", which wouldn't sound out of place if it were mid-way through "The Best of James".
"Lately", is a gospel tinged reminder why people fell in love with that voice in the first place, many singers have used a falsetto vocal with varying degrees of success but I don't recall any before doing so and keeping the ability to convey a this level of emotion.
"All That Matters" and "Water" are delicate and beautiful in a way that brings to mind British singer/songwriters like Tom Mcrae and Tom Baxter.
I could live without the cover of Pete Seeger's "The First Time Ever I saw Your Face", this is an excellent version but it does seem a bit out of place on this set.

The opening line of this album is, "It's a kick in the head" and it really is quite a shock to have a Matt Cardle album that lives up to the promise. It represents the best nine quid I have gambled this year. When I eventually stop playing "The Fire" constantly, something I haven't done since David Gray's " White Ladder", I will revisit the "Letters" album and imagine what it would have been like if Cardle had been left to his own devices.
I recommend the album to anyone who is looking for intelligent songs incredibly well sung, and if you can't let your credibility suffer by being seen to own an album by an X Factor winner... you may have just discovered a new secret guilty pleasure.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2012
Still love this album as much as when I first bought it. Such a diverse mix of styles, it's the best album Ive heard in a long time. Anyone Else is a great dance track. All That Matters a beautiful emotional stripped back ballad. Lately one of my personal favourites, starts with a simple violin and piano but builds into a huge gospel choir sound, although it's just Matt and James Walsh, Starsailor frontman who Matt wrote the song with, but sounds like a choir. There are even some fantastic rocky tracks, For Every Heartbreak and a great bonus track on the deluxe version, Your Somebody. Matt has an incredible vocal range which he uses to full effect on this album. His falsetto is breathtaking but it's not over used, his voice is velvety smooth and rich, delivery his genius emotional lyrics to stunning effect. To sum up, if you love a real mix of styles, genius lyrics, stunning vocals, great real music played on real instruments, mostly by Matt himself, you'll love The Fire.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2012
After leaving Simon Cowell and Sony behind, Matt's second solo album sees him heading in a new direction, but one that feels more authentic and personal. Seeing as he had full creative control of the record - involved in all the writing, instrumentation and production - this should hardly be surprising. Influences of rock, soul, gospel, folk and funk play together and are manifested in myriad ways, showing off Matt's impressive versatility - and astounding vocal range.

Although the subject matter is quite sad - mainly dealing with the aftermath of his recent break-up - the 'feel' is overwhelmingly positive, upbeat and uplifting. Of course, no-one can do a tearjerker quite like Matt and there are a few doozies on here, including what could be his definitive version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Few singers have the ability to convey emotion like Matt can; it is a rare gift.

In short, The Fire is a thoroughly enjoyable album brimming with thoughtful lyrics and catchy choruses. No longer constrained by trying to conform to record execs' idea of what he "should" be, Matt is free to be himself and create the music he wants to create. Perhaps ironically, then, The Fire may be Matt's most accessible work to date... and points to a bright future ahead!

An absolute bargain at any price!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2012
Curiousity drove me to buy The Fire, and I am very glad I did.

Matt Cardle needed to prove the critics wrong with his second album - and indeed he has done that.

A strong album, with stunning vocals. I recommend you have a listen to this, you will not be disappointed.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2012
Curiousity drove me to buy The Fire, and I am very glad I did.

Matt Cardle needed to prove the critics wrong with his second album - and indeed he has done that.

A strong album, with stunning vocals. I recommend you have a listen to this, you will not be disappointed
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2012
I'll be honest i don't know much about him, but was intrigued when a friend bought this album, just got my own copy and WOW!, this man is the music industry's best kept secret!!, vocals are incredible and i can't stop playing it, best money i've spent all year!.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2012
Matt 2nd album is a massive improvement on Letters, which I loved. I'm amazed to learn that he produced this masterpiece himself, much rawer than his debut and far better for it. Proves he was right to leave Sony and take full control of his creative direction. Water is a stunning track! I also adore the more upbeat sound of this album, just an excellent listen!! Well done Matt.
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Letters
Letters by Matt Cardle (Audio CD - 2011)

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