Saturday, May 26, 2007

I Wish I Could Have Loved You More - Candie Payne

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You may remember me sticking my neck out at the back end of last year with my "tips for 2007" list. Most will be long forgotten before the year is out, but Candie Payne might actually make it.

I Wish I Could Have Loved You More must certainly go down as one of the best debut albums of the year. Some critics have labelled it Dusty Springfield meets Portishead and whilst it may be a little unfair to limit to that, that's not a bad description to give you an overall feel of Candie Payne's oeuvre.

The title kicks things off with a bang and, in the space of three and a half minutes, encapsulates everything that is wonderful about Payne. Swirling orchestral sounds mix with modern beats to provide the perfect backing for Payne's sublime vocals. Lyrically you might be fooled into thinking that it's a tender piece, but there's a toughness that belies what you may think and proves that the song shouldn't be taken as a lament.

These themes carry on throughout the album; Why Should I Settle For You again straddles the line between vulnerability and toughness whilst Take Me is a vibrant brush-off towards a potential lover which almost gives you the impression she's trying to make him give up his attempts to woo.

Other highlights include the wonderful One More Chance and the rather delightful All I Need To Hear.

The only minor gripe would perhaps be that lyrically the album pretty much treads the same ground throughout the track listing; most of the songs seem to be a variation on a theme of lost love or "my man's a bit of a bastard." Still, it is a very minor gripe.

It might not be the out and out smash some of us may have hoped, but that probably says more about excessive expectations than it does about the album itself. It is, quite simply, fantastic. But perhaps the best feeling is that there is still plenty to come from Candie. As this album shows, she's a genuine talent.

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