Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Mr Hudson - Straight No Chaser (G.O.O.D Music / Mercury Records)

Mr Hudson Mr Hudson seems to have transformed himself for the new album into someone with more global appeal, so say goodbye posh-toff library-going Ben and welcome instead partying posh-chav Mr Hudson with new album Straight No Chaser.

The new R 'n' B direction may have scared some original fans, but he's managed to pull the transition off quite well and the dropping of his backing band hasn't done too much damage either.

This new direction is perhaps mentioned in 'Stiff Upper Lip' where he sings 'I can't keep stiff upper lift anymore' - perhaps a reference to his reserved upper-class roots that he seems so desperate to shed.

Chart success 'Supernova' starts the album off and it is the similar tracks on the there with their epic choruses, hip-hop beats and special effects overload that standout.

The award-ceremony destroyer Kayne West's contribution to this album is apparent; not only does he appear on tracks 'Supernova' and 'Anyone But Him', but a lot of the tracks have the cinematic sound that West likes to play with on his own albums. 

'White Lies' is probably the second strongest track on the album, due to its mass-appeal; big beats, auto-tune and synths with a bold, colourful chorus will go down well in clubs.

Hudson's still retained some of his posh-ness, however, which can be heard in his often thoughtfully downbeat lyrics that occasionally nestle uncomfortably against the slightly more upbeat R 'n' B rhythm. In 'Central Park', for example, Hudson sings 'Love is just a memory / Love along the shadow in my heart / in my heart' – which would be more suited to a stripped down, melodic song.

The trouble that Hudson faces from critics is that he's became what his record label want him to be, ditching the band and bringing in the auto-tune and synthesiser and, yes, the result is record-label and money-takingly friendly, but you wonder if this is really the direction he wants his music to take.

You end up with two choices listening to Straight No Chaser: you can happily enjoy an album of good-sounding, club friendly music in the knowledge that Hudson isn't that pretentious type and just as fickle as the rest of us; or, you can be a bit pretentious yourself and denounce the singer for selling out.

Whether you want to or not, it's difficult not enjoy this album and its sing-along lyrics.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Mr Hudson - Straight No Chaser (G.O.O.D Music / Mercury Records)
Mr Hudson has rebelled, hes left the library and decided to hang outside with the R 'n' B kids instead. Straight No Chaser suggests the change in direction will be making him lots of new friends.
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Published: 24/10/2009 at 00:03
Author: Phillip Clark
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