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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 October 2011
The music business has entered the age of the young singer with YouTube and talent shows providing a way for the precocious to market their talents to the world. One unfortunate side effect of this era is that every new male singer who comes along gets tagged with the question, "Is _______ the new Justin Bieber?" Ronan Parke is the latest to be examined with this lens. This comparison is decidedly unfair to Ronan because he should be judged by his own talent, and extremely unfair to Justin because Ronan has a powerful voice that can easily outsing Justin's thin, raspy notes.
The angelic voiced Ronan received rave reviews from five judges on Britain's Got Talent in 2011, including the notoriously critical Simon Cowell. Cowell thought so highly about Ronan that he signed Ronan to his record label, which resulted in this CD. What makes Ronan so special? When Ronan sings, he does everything right. He sings with power and incredible range. He hits nearly every note perfectly (without needing AutoTune), his phrasing is impeccable, and when his voice breaks, it shows how the song's meaning affects Ronan.
He displays tremendous emotions to convey the feelings behind the lyrics. You can feel the pain and heartbreak as he sings "Because of You," the depth of caring and sincerity in the lyrics to "Make You Feel My Love," and the energy of "Feeling Good." When Ronan sings, he BECOMES the song, bringing to mind the early work of Joe Cocker. Before you silently dismiss Ronan as the latest teen idol, be sure to listen to his songs on YouTube. Start with these three performances from BGT, all of which are represented by rerecordings on this CD. Then move to his light-hearted take on "Forget You" in which he energizes 40,000 people at the T4 On the Beach concert. After that, check out his two songs on the QVC promotion, especially the powerful and astonishing "Feeling Good." These performances led this adult to pre-order the CD, showing that his audience goes beyond the "Ronanators" who make up his fan base. By the way, when spending time on YouTube, don't hold his early acoustic performances against him. Why? In some of them, the poor thing looks so exhausted that he can barely keep his eyes open. While the notes are spot on, his singing lacks the zest he demonstrates when he is well rested. These acoustic performances also support the notion that Ronan sings even better in live performances where he feeds off the energy from the audience.
The standout track on the CD is "Feeling Good," from the acapella opening to the sustained closing note, with tasteful instrumental support and backing vocals. If your jaw does not drop from hearing Ronan sing "Feeling Good," then someone should check your pulse to make sure you are alive. My next favorite track on the CD is the energized "Forgot You". Ronan has said that "Fix You" is his favorite song on the album, and one listen shows why. His shimmering vocals convey the deep emotion in the song, as they do tender and beautiful readings of "Songbird" and "Make You Feel My Love."
With this in mind, I struggle with some of the song selections and arrangements on this album. "Because of You" was amazing at BGT and is sung powerfully here, but sounds rushed on the CD, odd for a contemplative song, and his voice is almost drowned out at the end by the background vocals. I never liked the song "A Thousand Miles" with its trite piano fills and stumbling lyrics, but Ronan does sing it far better than Vanessa Carlton and I almost like it now. "Firework" is an irritating song with a chorus that makes my skin craw- aw- awl, and again, he sings it better than Katy Perry, but even he can't save it. However both songs appeal to the teens who are the target audience for this CD. There are two original songs on the album, "We'll Rock the World," frothy bubblegum pop, while admittedly catchy, is just the type of track that could get Ronan typecast as a teen idol, a sure path to a short career. These concerns are more than offset by "Stronger Than I Am," a gorgeous ballad that echoes Rod Stewart's "The First Cut is the Deepest," strong praise indeed. The CD ends with two acoustic tracks, "Edge of Glory," one of those YouTube videos in which he looks tired, and "Firework," in which he is rested and smiling. Neither track works for me, but most people have given them a YouTube thumbs up, so chalk this up to differences in taste.
One final comment: since this album is mostly covers, couldn't they have included 14 or 15 songs? They would easily fit on a CD, and since Ronan's voice will change and change soon, it would be good to record as many songs as possible with the voice he has now. They could still go on his next CD. Suggested tracks would include "Because You Loved Me," the hit for Celine Dion, "It's a Beautiful Day Today" by Moby Grape, and "The Love You Save," by the Jackson 5. This last track would be an excellent choice, since Ronan sings as well as the young Michael Jackson; he really does.
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on 25 October 2011
What a clear and powerful voice! When i saw Ronan at the first time on youtube, my mind was blowing away! What an amazing boy singer! "Feeling Good" and "A Thousand Miles" sounds epic! Great to find them on this album! And also i like the acoustic tracks on this CD! My favorite is "Firework". It gives me goosebumps! I hear it over and over again! Unbelievable that this great voice is coming from these little cute shy boy! If you like boy soprano with soul in it , this is a real recommendation to buy! Ronan, the future is yours! best wishes from germany!
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on 12 November 2011
This seems to be a charming lad, if I remember well the contest, he really can sing and although a touch of his sparkle is hidden in the studio medium, nevertheless, he sings well and the arrangements are solid enough.

However, the song choices. This tends to happen, of course, as new starlets are introduced to the world with a CD of covers, but really the album's credibility takes a bashing as we hear such a young guy singing lyrics which really are ridiculous for one so young. "Make you feel my Love" and "Fix You" from such a wee lad is really a bit silly.

I hope he is managed in the future with common sense: he is a talent and as yet innocent in his success.
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on 28 October 2011
What a staggering voice from such an adorable person! A great start for his career and lives up to everything anyone could expect from him.. I am now converted into a Ronanator, and i love it!
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on 20 December 2011
I am a Canadian mother in my forties, and thanks to Youtube, I became a fan of Ronan Parke from watching his riveting BGT live performances. Ronan Parke thrives on the stage, and I think does his best work in front of a live audience. But this CD is the next best thing to attending his live concerts. It showcases his singing prowess across multiple song genres designed to appeal to a wide audience. Both myself and my seven year old daughter thoroughly enjoyed it. My daughter enjoys the popular selections for the t'ween set and the rest on their musical merit. I appreciate the wonderful control and expression of this boy's singing that goes far beyond his years, and I like listening to his covers because he goes way beyond doing all of them justice. Comparing the covers to the original--this is a point of interest that is absent when only original songs are sung. This CD appeals to a wide audience who might like it for many difference reasons. Some may criticize that the singer cannot be genuine because some subject matters sung are beyond his life experiences. To that I say that singing is partly acting. If the boy has an excellent voice and communicates emotional depth in his singing, let's just enjoy it and give him the credit he deserves. P.S.--I was so confident of Ronan's abilities that I ordered two CD's and is giving one to my daughter's friend as a Christmas present. Get it; it's good music.
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on 29 December 2011
I am an old grey head and watched this young man on Britain's Got Talent and did not understand why he did not win! I like all the tracks and I am informed by my youngest that I now know and like some top-ten covered singles!

This young man has a big big future in music!

So looking forward to the next album!
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on 4 November 2011
Just a quick entry here since some like to drag on and on...
I'm grateful for YouTube since it's through them I could view
"Britain's got Talent" and every year, one is awed by how many
talented people are unknown without such a showcase.

There is no comparing Ronan Parke to anyone else; like someone
said in another review, it just would be unfair. What amazes me
is not just his young age but the maturity of his voice!

Instead of easy pop songs, he chose covers from some of the very
best in the new breed in the music business; I like to view his acoustic
clips with his buddy guitarist, no fluff, no overproduction, just Ronan
singing his heart out leaving us in awe of the potential he has.

His sense of timing, his wide range of musical capabilities and the
intense joy he conveys is something that reaches me; I'm looking forward
to hearing his own compositions and hope he won't be overwhelmed by his
popularity and good looks because in the end, it's about music and a
wonderful young man who enjoys sharing his passion with everyone.

Cheers from Canada and good luck Ronan!
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on 28 December 2013
I was spellbound when Ronan Parke, aged 12, sang the Bob Dylan song, 'Make You Feel My Love' on 'Britain's Got Talent. His voice was pure and his eye was clear, but a potential disaster lay just ahead for this young man when his voice would inevitably become deeper and no-one was prepared to bet on his singing talent surviving the change.

In my view, this album reflects the sad anomaly of a boy with a golden voice: I can't identify with love songs and the lamentations of the broken-hearted - coming from a kid whose voice is still that of child and who hasn't even started out on life's road. It's a contradiction that hadn't occurred to me until I listened to this album and the only track I am comfortable with is 'Make You Feel My Love', probably because Ronan paved the way for it on Briotain's Got Talent.
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on 28 December 2011
What an excellent debut album from this young star. The tracks on this album are a perfect match for Ronan's voice. His voice has yet to develop, but his vocal quality in these tracks indicate that in a short while his voice will be superb. I will definitely be buying his next album.
Arrived from Amazon EU S.a.r.L within days of ordering. Top service as usual.
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on 7 September 2015
Such a lovely CD. This was recorded in 2011 when Ronan was 12/13 ish. I think some people have been put off by his young appearance and might fear what they will hear, but his voice is beautiful. Feeling Good was his breakthrough BGT song, and starts here unaccompanied.. "Forget You" his poppy Motownesque cover of the Cee lo green song. My favourites are his Big Ballads, Fix You, Because of you, Make you feel my love, Songbird, and Stronger than I am, while the remainder are also very listenable. Shame really that there's not (yet at least at September 2015) been more albums. Always difficult to make the transition from young teen star with a young teen audience to adult voice and audience. Have a look on Youtube (or Spotify) for "Cry" "Move" and "Defined" and see what this guy is capable of. He is after all still only 17, so time yet -
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