Daniel Merriweather's second single this year may be destined for chart success, but it isn't a compelling argument to purchase his forthcoming album Love And War. 'Red' is a perfectly competent ballad, but despite being soulful it doesn't have the funky edge of previous single 'Change'.
It's a shame because with Sean Lennon playing guitar, 'Red' should shine. With previous success as a vocalist for Mark Ronson and Wiley, the Australian singer has built himself a great springboard for his solo work. However, this single feels like somewhat of a letdown from the promise he has shown, with an absence of any standout moments.
'Red' starts with a single guitar and piano and Merriweather's distinctive voice, but before you have time to settle into the song, orchestral strings and drums kick in. Choir-like "ooh" backing vocals are also added to the mix later on. Not a dreadful effort musically, but a little bland.
Lyrically it's a love song about a failed relationship, and Merriweather is a little abstract with the chorus stating: "You took something perfect and painted it red". There is evidence to suggest a political message here as well, but the production means the song is presented as such a sweet ballad the subtext gets lost.
'Red' feels like a formulaic hit single, but without the quirky nature of some of the other material from Love And War. Merriweather's solo work is certainly worth investigating further, but this may not be the best place to start.