Simon Cowell’s X Factor show in the UK has always been more than Leona Lewis, and it’s just by chance that here in the Philippines, it’s American Idol that rules. Such that other than Leona, we haven’t had that much exposure to other winners and X Factor alumni. In other Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore, Shayne Ward, a past winner is quite popular, and hopefully, these two polished CDs will make us more appreciative of these British artists.
Obsession — Shayne Ward (Sony BMG). X Factor winner from some years back, this is Shayne’s third studio album and it seems the strongest and most consistent. The opener, a cover of Nickelback’s Gotta Be Somebody is a great way to start the CD. My other highlights would be Someone L:ike You which freely samples The Spin Doctors Two Princes, and a reggae-fied version of Tony Rich Project’s hit Nobody Knows. Shayne has a strong voice, seems to command strong stage presence from what I’ve heard; and so it’s really a shame we’ve always been stuck on American Idol and haven’t discovered the talent that abounds from the UK and Cowell’s X Factor show.
Olly Murs — Olly Murs (Sony BMG). Ska, reggae, soulful pop and light-hearted R&B — that pretty much sums up the music coming from 2009 X Factor runner-up Olly Murs. Think of Train and Jason Mraz put in a blender, and you’ll have some idea of the winning music found in the CD. Nothing deadly serious or a challenge to listen to, it’s like soda pop on a sunny day. Collaborators include Chris Difford of Squeeze. Busy is my fave track on the CD, and I loved how he mixed reggae and gospel on the song Love Shine Down. Thinking Of Me is “reggae-light” with references to growing up listening to Bob Marley; and the song sums up the mood and tone of Murs’ musical orientation — fun and breezy!