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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 27 December 2002
As you may expect from an album taken from a TV show there are a lot of cover-versions present in the track listing. However, those songs which made it onto the album which had been written by the students themselves, are actually pretty good.
There must have been a heated debate about whether all the student should be included in the final cut, and fair-play they have been, even though some are less talented than others. Certainly, Ashley and Chris were extremely lucky to have "made the grade". Apart from the occasional average performance there is a certain swagger to some of the voices here. Sinead for one comes across far better here than she did on any of the live shows.
Overall this album is worth a look, especially if you watched the series. My only real disappointment is that David Snedden's song "Stop Living A Lie" is not present, and I subsequently find myself actively resenting some of the weaker students because of this.
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on 5 December 2002
I thought the new Fame Academy CD was absolutely excellent! It includes a marvellous selection of the best songs from the Fame Academy and I think the producers made an excellent choice with them. My favourite track on the album has to be Lullaby, by Ainslie and Lemar. What genious! This song definately shows the Fame Academy stars at their best. It's a hit!
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on 11 December 2002
Fame Academy has introduced some fresh talent to the music scene, as the numerous other 'pop stars' competitions have.
The album is composed of mainly well known hits, and they are all performed well. Everybody who followed BBC's Fame Academy will enjoy this CD.
It includes a mix of old songs, and new, covered aptly by the Fame Academy students, who are not afraid to let their personalities give the songs a unique edge.
This album is impressive, and stands out from the other manufactured pop act CDs. It consists of some of the best songs performed on the television series. It also includes songs written by the contestants, such as Lemar's outstanding 'Lullaby'.
I feel this album was released prematurely, and the production has suffered from this. Great performances, such as Lemar and David's version of Stevie Wonder's "As" were not included on the album due to this.
Despite the rushed production, I still rate this recording
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on 4 February 2003
It is obvious on listening to the album the difference between people who can sing and people who are born stars. The album swings between gems, such as the sublime 'lullaby'; melodic and catchy perfectly showcasing the ample vocal talents of Lemar and (my favourite) Ainslie, to downright dire cover versions (or should that be massacres?). Take 'Brown eyed girl' the Van Morrison classic, add cheesy kareoke style backing music, flat vocals and an uninspiring wannabe popstar and you have track 11. The problem with CD's launched on the back of TV series (see gareth gates) is that you are inevitably bias towards your favourite characters- regardless of whether they are producing anything of quality. The album does show some potential- the future stars are very easily identifiable and it is indeed the original material, written by the 'students' which is the most inspiring. The rockier edgier songs; see 'come up and see me', benefit more from decent backing tracks and enthusiastic upbeat performances yet unfortunately the album is let down by flat, basic and quite frankly boring vocals (take note camilla, katie, chris, nigel, ashley and pippa and even, controversially, david). Give me more from the oh so talented Sinead and Ainslie any day and the unexpected talents of Marli and Malachi. Essentially i would recommmend 9 tracks out of the 18; the best being a battle between 'keep me a secret' and 'lullaby', the worst being a closely fought battle by the other half of the album.
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on 17 December 2002
Although having not been a fan of Fame Academy until the latter stages,the songs on the album even though predominantly covers, are surprisingly good. Highlights of the album are Sinead singing the No Doubt song Dont Speak which really reflects her powerful voice, Malachi singing Vincent [ a true tear jerker ]and the excellent duet between Marli and Ainslie covering the classic Come up and see me [ make me smile ].
Am personally not that enthralled with the Lionel Ritchie song despite being a huge Lionel fan. What impresses me most about the album is one song in particular which is destined to be a hit and that is the song written by Lemar and Ainslie Lullaby .It has a very catchy chorus and I think that by having this on the album demonstrated that Fame Academy was about REAL musicians and song writing
Weaknesses on the album for me were Ashley covering 'I can see clearly now ' and the Lionel number.
Overall,if you were a fan of Fame Academy you will buy this but if you werent, then you may be surprised at just how good this sounds and the song Lullaby is well worth a listen alone.
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on 17 December 2002
If you haven't been out for the last 10 Friday nights because you simply had to find out whether your favourite Fame Academy student was saved from expulsion for another week, this is the album for you. It's got all the best songs from the live showdowns, including Nigel's Heard it on the Grapevine, Katie's Perfect, and Marli and Malachi's Fields of Gold. Although Lemar and Ainslie's own song Lullaby is on the album, it lacks a couple of the better original songs from the academy, notably David's Live the Lie and Sinead's I Can't Break Down.
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on 10 December 2002
I think Fame Academy has had a lot of unfounded bad press since it began 10 weeks ago and I beleive that if some of the doubters were to put this on their CD player they would find that unlike some other 'search for a star' TV shows this one actually does it's bit to encourage talent to grow. The highlights of this very good album include three self penned tunes written by the students - one of which was in collaboration with no less than Lionel Ritchie.
Lullaby and Keep Me A Secret are by far a good indication of what we should expect our music stars in this country to produce - meaningful lyrics with a catchy melody and the fact that student Ainslie Henderson was involved in the writing of both must surely bode well for this young mans future in the music industry.
Away from the originals there are still 15 other songs - although there are some that aren't up to the same high standard as the rest (in particular I'm thinking of Genie In A Bottle and I Can See Clearly) for the most part they are sterling versions of old favourites given a modern twist to suit the artists style. My own personal favourite of these covers is Fields of Gold which is sung by Malachi Cush and Marli Buck. Malachi's gentle folky tones just make you melt and I defy you to listen to it and not be swept away in the emotion of his voice.
Another highlight is Ainlie's and Marli's version of Come Up And See Me - this is just a fun version of a fun song.
Overall I highly recomend this album to anyone who enjoys music - it has something to suit everyones tastes and, if you are anything like me you will have most of them on repeat. If this is the standard we should expect from 'manufactured' artists then the rest of them should be worried. I just can't wait for an album with more of the original songs they've written in it.
Go buy this!
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on 16 December 2002
Being a staunch music critic for more than 3 decades, I found myself hooked on this reality tv programme. (never seen another one)
This album is a very nice mix of fresh (read : good) artists singing a mix of old and new covers, a nice mix of genre talents singing some favourites, and also some remarkably good and original soundpieces, with a little help from old hands like Lionel Ritchie and Pam Sheyne.
A handful of these artists (IMHO) will make it big style, Lemar, Sinead, David and particularly Ainslie.
The high standard of young artists is complemented by the nice production and quality session musicians supporting.
The best tracks are hard to spot, as nothing shines over the others, standard is good. There is definitely talent emerging here.
I have to say the worst track is David's Goodnight Girl, funny he should win the one million pound contract, his first single will make number one, I'm sure. A quality songster and popular too.
This will be good bop along driving cd, as most covers we can all sign along.
I am not a lover of covers generally, however this energetic list of talented individuals defy gravity and provide us with a very fresh approach. A mixed album to enthuse people from 10 to 100 years of age. Buy it, a tenner well spent.
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on 14 December 2002
I would recommend everyone to buy this album because the quality of the recordings are brilliant and the three original songs are amazing. While watching the series, I could not understand why the fame academy teachers rated Ainslie so highly but having listened to the song "Keep Me A Secret", I have completely changed my opinion of him. Buy it for this song alone - it is brilliant - listen to the words and appreciate how applicable it was to their stay in the academy. I just hope that like David, Sinead, Lemar, Ainslie and Malachi all make it because they deserve to!
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on 17 December 2002
For a Fame Academy addict this is a must. Everybody's got a solo on here! A few nice surprises from some of the earlier students. Pippa sounds good and Marli's restrained sexiness is amazing singing 'Fields of Gold' with Malachi. You'll understand why Lemar preferred singing 'Lullaby' as a duet with Ainslie's contrasting voice. The full version of 'Back to You', a song partly written by the students and finished off by Lionel Ritchie himself, is cute.
Production is really disappointing. To me it sounds flat and amateur next to 'real' pop music. Understandable, given the circumstances of recording. The music sounds canned and uninspiring. All the better to hear the voices of the students I suppose. Which is why I would only recommend this CD as a souvenir. Or maybe as a way to follow your favourite students as their careers unfold.
Personal favourites are Sinead's 'Don't speak' and the song that starts the CD off with a bang - Ainslie and David singing 'With A Little Help From My Friends'. I wish Sinead and Ainslie's self-penned songs were included on the CD. They'll most likely be releasing those as 'proper' singles in 2003 and I look forward to them.
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