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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 December 2010
This is such a fantastic album I'm almost mystified it hasn't sold anywhere near as well as it deserves to ... until I remind myself how little promotion it's received. "Always gonna be an uphill battle" - how true, poor lad! Yes, this new sound is a different side to Joe than the one we were familiar with on XF last year but it also shows how versatile he is. The U-turn in musical style was a big risk but it could have paid off had Joe had the amount of 'smart' promotion that Olly Murs had. Lucky Olly being co-signed with Epic, who actually know how to market their artists effectively.

Added to the lack of timely promotion (including the debilitating lack of airplay for his single releases), the biggest complaint from many who voted for Joe last year on XF seems to be that his voice is lost in the overproduction of this album. Unfortunately, the samples (or 'snippets' as a previous reviewer referred to them) on Amazon don't do the album justice and when I first heard them, I feared his gorgeous voice would be submerged in the synthesised sound on almost every track. Being a big fan of Joe's, however, I was always going to support him by buying his music. What a difference when you hear the album tracks in full. For example, I thought I would hate 'Love Is War' as the sample on Amazon sounded nothing like him. In full, you can clearly hear his voice in the verses and I really like the track now. In fact, there is no track I skip over (even the Climb, while still my least favourite!). There is only one other album in my collection that gets the same complete hearing each time I play it. There is something for everyone on it, including a couple of ballads. For instance, for those who particularly loved his vocals on XF, 'Superman' is beautiful and has remained my favourite track. Another of my favourites is the cheeky, quirky 'Real Late Starter' which never fails to put a smile on my face. Have also played the album countless times and am still not sick of it! It's fun, upbeat and reflects the happy-natured, 19-year-old Joe perfectly.

Please please keep an open mind, put aside any possible prejudices about the XF association (which has been a double-edged sword for Joe anyway) and you might just find that this uplifting album becomes one of your favourites. Admittedly, this album doesn't fully showcase his amazing vocals (but neither are they completely disguised, which is the complaint from some who have only heard the samples) but it is still a fantastic album in so many ways. I firmly believe that Joe has so much more to offer, so it would be extremely sad if he were written off before he's even had a proper chance to get underway in the music business. Having seen him perform live many times, his vocals (and increasingly confident performances) never cease to impress me. If he gets the chance to make a second album, I'm hoping it will contain a couple of his acoustic performances to showcase that incredible voice. In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy Joe's debut offering, which is by far the most played album in my collection!
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on 14 August 2011
This album did not showcase Joe in a way that his audience would have expected, more as his promoters wished.

I was thrilled to see him taken up on the film Price Caspian, appalled to see all that happened next.

I was so pleased to see him taken up by POP STAR TO OPERA STAR & his subsequent performances.

Joe has great potential to go in far more directions than the album suggests.

With all of this I loved this album. It was extremely under promoted unlike Simon's Olly Murs.



For those who are prejudiced by the little promotion given, buy & listen you will change your mind!
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on 4 January 2011
This is an excellent CD by Joe. He proves he has the voice to sing different tracks in varying scales including very high pitch. Expected to hear more slow tracks, but was surprised that most of the tracks are very fast moving and catchy songs. Once heard a few times, you cannot stop singing them. Really good buy and would recommend to anyone who likes this type of catchy, commercial music.
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on 13 November 2010
I have to agree with the comments that highlight how commercial this album is: maybe the hype grew too much and expectations were difficult to match, but I would have loved to hear Joe's pure voice hit high notes and give me shivers, unfortunately that didn't happen. Shame on those who put together such a commercialized, x-factor-like album.
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on 25 October 2010
Although I think Joe's got an amazing voice, i'm just a bit put off that the album is only 36 minutes long and is hardly an album that shows the real extent to his vocal abilities.

Joe has one of the nicest, sweetest voices for a young man and he did amazingly well throughout the X-Factor competition. A winner right from the word go in my opinion.

It would've been fantastic if this album had some of the songs from the competition but sadly, it doesn't. No doubt it will sell well but I think we were all expecting a longer album than 11 songs (36 minutes 11 seconds).

Hope his follow-up is longer in length and features songs that we all know and love and supported him through the X-Factor.
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on 30 November 2010
I don't normally hold out much hope for X Factor album winners - usually a load of predictable covers, songs from the show and overblown vocal gymnastics. What a surprise then to hear Joe McElderry to release a high tempo album which cannot fail to put a smile on your face.

The covers on this album are not at all predictable, or well known. There are no dreary 'songs from the show' (except The Climb, which seems a bit out of place), and the whole thing is just great fun. The album also has a genuine cool edge, with more than a nod to bands such as the Scissor Sisters - indeed if you enjoy them, then you will find a lot to like here. This is not an album which will appeal to the mums and grans who think of Joe as a sutrrogate son/grandson, but if you are young, or young at heart, then you should give this one a try.

I could quibble that Joe's voice, and indeed the whole album, is quite heavily 'produced' - but it's up-tempo pop, and that's what you do in that kind of music. Get your dancing shoes on and have some fun!
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on 9 December 2010
I love this album and play it a lot. It's upbeat, poppy and fun, with also a sensitive, spiritual side in songs like Superman and Wide Awake (the title track). This combination is rare in modern pop.
I put Joe singing Superman in a playlist between legendary singer/songwriters Tim Buckley (Song to the Siren) and Nick Drake (Northern Sky). Guess what? He fits in perfectly.
Give this album a try, you won't be disappointed!
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on 6 November 2010
Just because it is different from what you might have expected (loads of ballads) does not mean it is awful. It is actually great to get to hear a different side of Joe. Some say it is over-engineering, but I think it is a wonderful pop album. Sometimes Joe sings so well that people forgot he is only 19 - this is the kind of album a 19-year-old pop star would make. The songs are catchy and you can still hear how good Joe is in singing if you pay attention. I specially like Fahreiheit, Real Later Starter and Wide Awake.

Joe had said that he was very involved in choosing the songs for the album, and this album is authentic Joe!

Having said that, I would very much love to see Syco releasing an acoustic EP for Joe. From all those acoustic songs he posted on YouTube, you can imagine how great an EP it would be!
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on 29 November 2010
Disapppointed with this album. I think Joe has a great voice and I was expecting some soulful ballads and some upbeat pop. I don't think Simon Cowell's label have done Joe justice. I hope he does well with the single releases and moves on quickly to something more fitting his talents.
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on 13 June 2011
This is my second favourite X Factor-winner debut album after Alex Burke's Overcome. Overcome was just amazing, but Wide Awake is not far behind (ahead of even Spirit, in my opinion). It's a collection of very nice songs, all carrying Joe's distinctive style but avoiding the monotony of some of the other X Factor winner debut albums. The Climb was nice, but not outstanding, when it was sung at X Factor, but thankfully that's nowhere near the best song on the album. Fahrenheit just blows me away, while Real Late Starter is fun and a little cheeky. Superman is more than a little poignant, while Love is War has a really catchy chorus. There aren't really any weak links in the album, and like with Overcome, you can easily listen to the album through from beginning to end and have a really nice experience. This album really deserved to do better, and Joe deserved more success for it than he got. For us listeners, it's always nice to have an underpromoted album which takes you by surprise (although of course it's really bad if you're the singer). It's not groundbreaking for sure, but it's very enjoyable, and definitely one of the better ones in my collection.
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