Friday, March 23, 2007

Stay - Simply Red

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It's easy to knock Mick Hucknall but at times the fella does himself no favours. The man has talent, that is beyond question in my eyes, but recently has been more than happy to phone it in and sit within himself. Everytime a new album comes on the horizon I find that I start to hope that this might be the time; this might be the one where he snaps out of his malaise and produces something along the lines of what I know he's capable of.

Sadly, once again, Stay doesn't quite hit the mark.

I say "quite" because in parts this is actually very good indeed. Title track Stay, one of the more out and out "chart pop" moments on the collection harks back to the glory days. The album is also bookended by great moments; The World And You Tonight starts the album off on a high note, with it's catchy guitar riffs whilst Little Englander sees Hucknall, gasp, experiment a little bit and shows that the ambition still lurks within his soul. Sure, the whistles, orchestration and children's choir shouldn't work, but somehow they do.

There are other decent moments too, such as Money TV and The Death Of The Cool, even though their attacks on consumerism and reality television shows don't entirely convince.

On the other hand, So Not Over You is the usual generic ballad drivel that has hampered him in recent times, They Don't Know is a clumsy Mowtown pastiche that never really gets going and Oh! What A Girls shows that Hucknall isn't the funky kind anymore.

So really this is a lot like his previous two self-financed efforts, albeit with a bit more vigour than those. There's a couple of great songs joined by a smattering of decent ones and finished off with some poor songs. Fans, though, will surely find enough on here to make this not a completely unworthwhile purchase.

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