Monday, 14 September 2009

Shayne Ward 'Breathless'

Chart Peak: 6


The only Shayne to chart in the UK so far, Ward had the Christmas Number One in 2005 as the winner of that year's X-Factor. Here we find him two years on, trying to keep the career going with what he calls "the best ballad I've ever heard" (it's OK, he didn't write it himself) and title track of the second album.

There is some evidence that this, unlike the off-the-peg winners single, is an attempt to establish a style that suits him. Which is not a bad idea, although it's less fortunate that the style which seems to suit him is this rather sickly number with a lyric that seems to have been plagiarised from pound-shop greetings cards. "If we had babies they'd look like you" - is this a love song to Winston Churchill? He sings it well, at least technically, although a have to say that this sort of register of male vocal isn't something I especially enjoy. He certainly gets your attention about two and a half minutes in.

People will tend to complain that shows like this generate winners who lack talent. In fact I tend to feel the problem is the opposite. Anyone who was as bad a singer as I am would be ritually humiliated in the first week or two; the people you end up with are talented, as Ward is, but the trouble is that's all they are. They're not really distinctive or creative enough to make a major impact on music, and yet they're burdened by a weight of expectation and by the knowledge that a big chunk of the record-buying public is primed to dislike them. Plus, of course, there's always the next winner down the the line. Perhaps it's significant that that this was his fifth hit within the space of two years: and yet in the almost equal time span since then, we've heard nothing from him at all. Which leads up on to tomorrow's post.

Also appearing on: Now 63, 68
Available on: Breathless

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