on 7 November 2013
I'm going to stick my neck out here.... I've never bought a single Matt Cardle album before.
I read a review of this album in The Mirror, where they awarded it 5 stars. I saw it here on Amazon and took a chance.
Where has this guy been hiding? I'm not really a fan of the X Factor, so I wasn't that aware of him.
I read the album booklet only to find out he wrote, produced and played all the instruments (except violins!!!) on this album. What a prodigious talent he is!
There is a great diversity of sounds and flavours and his vocals are exceptionally good. He has a humongous vocal range and has crafted some classic melodies here. There's gut wrenching heartbreak, passion, soul, attitude and also some lighter moments when you just want to turn it up full blast and sing along.
It's almost a shame he went on X Factor because I imagine there is a lot of prejudice against him - hopefully people will look beyond that and listen to this fantastic collection of songs.
I thoroughly recommend this album.
A new Matt Cardle fan.
on 29 October 2013
The third album to come from Matt Cardle is called Porcelain and it is actually the first album of Matt's to be made available world wide. It is with great anticipation that I have been waiting for this album after Matt and his manager have been posting bits and pieces about the album for quite some time but it is released on the 28th October 2013. The album is the second to be written and produced by Matt himself and I love the way he has taken his music this way because you get to hear so much of the musician himself as opposed to manufactured music in my opinion. I have been listening to the album all week despite it not actually being released yet because he has previewed the full album on digital spy!
The album is available in CD format and of course digitally too. I treated myself to one of the 500 limited edition signed vinyl formats of the album which comes with the name of those ordered in the album sleeve as well and I plan to have it all framed and put on display somewhere at home. The physical CD copy of the album costs £9.99 on amazon whilst the download costs £7.49 currently. The cover of the CD is a gorgeous black and white shot of Matt's face with his blue eyes highlighted to make them look really piercing and lovely. It looks quite arty and cool in my opinion.
I think it is important to note here that Matt plays the instruments on the album too. He learned all kinds of new skills for this album and I love that the whole thing is all about Matt. It show cases him as the talented musician he is and shows he isn't JUST a singer!
The album contains ten tracks and it is my intention to run through each of them a little within this review.
==1) In Chains (4.50)==
As soon as I heard this track I loved it. It is quite a slow moving song but which has a gospel feel to it in certain points as well. It features plenty of key lines which lead me to believe that he is looking for something more in his life but feels as though he is stuck to someone that he shouldn't be. He wants to move on but he is in chains, tied to the person he loves. The key line for me in this song is during the really catchy chorus where it says "I'm in chains, I'm a sucker for the pain, Nothing will change, Til I learn to break away" and I can really relate to this and I am sure many other people who have gone through a break up but have feelings remaining for their ex.
==2) Loving You (3.37)==
This song was the first to be released from the album and it is a duet with Melanie C, the former Spice Girl. Mel was actually at the Union Chapel gig that Matt did last May that I went to and we all wondered then if some duet would come about. Loving you seemed the perfect song to be a duet with a few tweaks and it was released.
The song is brilliant in my opinion and a lot of people who weren't really aware Matt was still around, or weren't a fan of his music came to me and said that it is a really good catchy song that they couldn't get out of their heads! It actually reminds me a little of the song when you're gone that Mel did with Bryan Adams years ago in terms of pace and what not.
The song is all about wanting someone, loving them but wondering why it only happens under certain circumstances. There is certainly a physical attraction but you are left wondering who that person is thinking of when you are not with them and if someone else is holding them when you let them go. It's a very upbeat song and Matt and Mel's voices really work well together and it is a song that makes me want to dance around!
==3) When you were my girl (2.58)==
When you were my girl is the second song to be released from the album and it is quite a soulful, almost jazzy sounding song in places in my opinion. It is a very telling song and so personal to Matt and his situation with his ex. A key few lines which tells the story are basically "all those tears I watched you fake thinking I was doing you wrong but now I hear it's my mistake cos you were never sleeping alone when you were my girl"
The song is really catchy and there is a little bit where there are claps within the beat of the song and it always makes me clap or tap on my leg or whatever. It is a really good track and I enjoy listening to it.
==4) Hit my heart (3.17)==
This is one of my favourite songs on the album and it is probably the most poppy sounding songs. It has a really catchy chorus and it is really uplifting in my opinion and I can't help sing along with it. It talks about needing your heart to be lit up by love, needing a beat to get it started and needing just a little bit of someones love.
I can imagine having this song turned up really loud and it making me want to sing and smile even if I am feeling a bit rubbish. It is just one of those songs which makes me smile.
==5) A little too late (3.37)==
As you would expect from the title of the song this track is basically saying you gave it away, it is too late to go back. It is quite a slow moving song through the verses but it picks up pace during the chorus sections and I do think the chorus is the best part of this song. It is catchy and shows off the rocky edge to Matt's voice I think.
==6) Not over you (4.10)==
This is without a shadow of a doubt my most favourite song on this album. As the title suggests it is about being not over someone and not really knowing what to yourself. You can try and move on but if you aren't over someone then there is little point really. A line that really gets to me is "I should have been the one to make you happy, I didn't pass the test, just like all the rest" and I think we have probably all felt a little like that at times.
It is such a heartbreakingly amazing, raw and pure song. It is basically Matt singing with a little melody and it is that which makes it so amazing for me. It is simple yet so amazing and I could honestly listen to the song over and over again. On his album The Fire there was a song which for me is a similar song to this called all that matters which made me cry seeing him perform it live and I think this one will affect me even more because it is so beautiful. It's a song that makes me want to give Matt a massive cuddle...well, even more than usual!
==7) Mouth to Mouth (3.30)==
This is a quite rocky sounding song for me and is basically about needing somebody physically I think. Just needing their kiss to keep you going and wanting that physical contact with someone. It is another catchy song which you get stuck in your head and can't help but sing along with. There are some backing vocals with this one which sound a little gospel in a way too but it works well within the track in my opinion.
==8) Your kind of love (3.38)==
This is another one of my favourite tracks from the album. It is quite a sexy sounding track and is basically about sex. "She's telling me baby take me, I wanna feel your kind of your love, tonight I'm on top, give it up" and you get the idea of the track. I don't think it is an inappropriate sounding song though, it works well with the album and it is so catchy. The chorus in particular really sticks in my head and seems a bit rocky. I really do like this track and can see it being one that gets played over and over again.
==9) This trouble is ours (3.41)==
This is another song that I really love from the album as I think it has a really catchy melody. I think the basic message behind the song is we are perhaps a bit damaged and how the way we are can cause trouble in our relationships. I think it show cases Matt's voice really well and it is a brilliant song in my opinion.
==10) Porcelain (5.40) ==
The title track from the album comes last on the album. The song is all about staying strong I think...if you don't break it will make you stronger. I can resonate with this song because I have had a really crap year and I keep saying I keep on getting back up and surely that does make me quite strong. I think Matt is saying the same thing through this song. It is an easy one to listen to and one which flow over you nicely I think.
This is without a shadow of doubt Matt's best album to date. I love the fact that he has self penned the tracks or co written them as well as produced it and played the instruments on it. There is a real wonderful consistency about the quality of the tracks on this album and I do enjoy them all. Of course there are some which I prefer to others but I do love this album completely. It makes me cross that he doesn't really get the recognition that he deserves for being such a wonderful musician but I hope that I can influence people to give this album a listen and hopefully buy it because you won't be disappointed!
I like the way that there is a real mix of sounds on this album. There are tracks which sound like pop, rock and there are even elements of soul and gospel in there too. It says a lot about a performer vocally when they can turn their hand so effectively to different sounds I think.
on 28 October 2013
... this line from the lyrics of the album's title track single-handedly sums up Matt's journey as an artist and a person. If there is a more apt way to describe the album, I honestly can't think of one right now.
Yet, I'm in two minds (or more) which label to put on this album. It's not that "Porcelain" makes Matt's previous album, "The Fire", look bad, not at all. I wouldn't even say that it tops "The Fire". Neither am I comfortable with characterizing it as being on a whole new level.
The most adequate way I can put it is that it stands apart. It branches off and out to new territory where Matt has never gone before.
What remains the same, though, is Matt's remarkable vocal range. This guy is armed with a unique voice and is definitely not afraid to use it.
For me, "Porcelain" defines a whole new category of album.
Usually, one only gets treated to something like this on a sampler that spans decades of an artist's work. Yet, this CD is not a "Best Of" sampler, it is indeed an original album. An absolute standout album at that. What "Porcelain" has to offer is a diversity of genres - not only spread across the album itself but also incorporated into each of its tracks.
This, on a side note, is the reason why neither the previews from Amazon, nor from iTunes, not even the previews on Matt's youtube channel will give you the whole picture. They are rather like ... decoys.
Once you've listened to the first track "In Chains" in full you will get an idea of what I mean.
So here we go :-)
In Chains: Starting out with deceptively delicate chords from an organ the track quickly transforms into a full out rock piece with Matt first spicing up the vocals with his famous falsetto and then taking a headlong dive into his metal past with a note that hasn't been heard from him since Darwyn times. Immense!!
Loving you: Talking about spice ... this duet with Mel C is something else. Things like these only come together when the people involved truly enjoy their line of work and give it a shot to see how it works out. And it works just beautifully! It's almost unearthly how well their voices match while they are bouncing the vocals back and forth on this old-school country-tinged pop song.
When you were my girl: What can I say? Catchy, retro, funky, stylish! I dare you to keep your feet still (AND hands for that matter ... *clapclap*) and your urge to sing along in check. It got me hooked right from the very first chord of its iconic bass line.
Hit my heart: Similar to "In Chains", it unexpectedly changes genre literally mid-chorus. A genius pop track with a driving beat (including one bad-ass drum) interlaced with a gritty bass guitar riff. I definitely want to see Matt and band pull this one off live on stage.
A little too late: Outstanding vocal! Well, basically this applies to everything Matt does. Yet, the notes he's strung together throughout the verses and the chorus are truly impressive.
Not over you: Emotional. Sad. Matt still has so much pain and vulnerability left from "The Fire", and he pours every little bit of it into the lyrics and vocals of this track. Listening to it late at night will tear at your heart. To call it tear jerker would be too rude, given the fact that this is true real life therapy for Matt. If Matt ever does this live it will most certainly be a moment to light some sparklers. Lighters at the ready, people!
Mouth to Mouth: A bit of playful lyrics. Awesome! And who wouldn't want to help Matt out, eh? :-) Especially loving the slightly spanish touch from the acoustic guitar.
Your kind of love: WHEW!!! Hand me that turbo fan, please. Nothing playful about the lyrics in this one. Flat out explicit is more like it. This is NOT to be taken as a complaint! ;-) Matt's rocking it out poppy side up. Git it up! Oh yes! Caution, it's HOT HOT HOT!!
This trouble is ours: Helllloooo Mumford! Are you, by any chance, missing a son? I think I might have found him! Love it!!! I love it even more for the fact that it has Matt playing every instrument on it himself.
Porcelain: Nice ballad. Thoughtful lyrics. It seems to metaphorically comprise everything Matt went through in the last couple of years. His moods, his choices, his decisions, him dealing with the outcome both good and bad.
Production-wise, "Porcelain" is quite the opposite of "The Fire" about which Matt had said that he arranged and produced all the tracks with playing them live in mind.
Some tracks from "Porcelain", though, (namely "In chains", "Hit my heart", "A little too late") will take some truly genius tweaking to make them work on a life stage without resorting to full backing tracks.
For one, the vocals are very layered. Not only are there the backing vocals (he had those on "The Fire", too), more often than not Matt seems to have recorded more than one lead vocal and at times is pretty much duetting with himself which creates quite intriguing effects.
Having said this, I'm also sure that Matt already knows how to rearrange everything so he and his life band can do it without too many gimmicks on their tour in 2014. It probably will sound different but neverthless just as awesome.
In terms of theme and mood, this album is quite optimistic, even cheerful in parts. Of course, there's still a bit of pining after a broken relationship spilling over from "The Fire" but with tracks like "Loving You", "Hit my heart", "Mouth to mouth" and "Your kind of love" it becomes clear that Matt's glass is not half empty anymore.
Matt has poured his heart and soul, his skills, guts and balls into this album.
If you like pop, but also like undistorted voices and instruments that can be identified as such, you should give "Porcelain" a shot.
on 28 October 2013
I had expected something good but not this good. I had liked the two songs released as singles over the last couple of months already, and I liked most of the songs on the Fire and some of the songs on Letters a lot, but I was not prepared for this. Funky guitars, a banjo, a Fender Rhodes and brass instruments; who knew? The melodies, vocals, backing vocals, instruments and general production are simply superb. This is a whole new level for Matt. 'This Trouble is Ours' was the first song to grab me, but as I listened again, all of the others began to jostle in my brain for attention. I doubt that I will ever get bored with album.
on 29 October 2013
This man never fails to deliver, this his 3rd album in three years is his best work yet!
He has an amazing voice, as anyone who has seen him live will know. He is fearless, and has used his
stunning vocal range to the max on this new album.
Finally others have the opportunity to see that this man can take on any genre and do it well.
I just hope people can forget the pop politics and give it a listen & give him the credit he deserves.
These tracks will sound amazing live with his band, can't wait for the 2014 Tour!
Well done Matt!