Like politics, dogs and Cher, Time seems to affect The Music Industry differently to how it affects normal human beings. A year in human terms is like a decade in the music world; sounds, styles and genres continually boom in and out of fashion, while an endless litter of new artists bounce eagerly onto the scene to nip at the ankles of established acts. Artists who take a year out to write a new album soon feel like they’ve been gone forever *COUGH* La Roux *COUGH*, while Lady Gaga’s almost continuous presence in the charts since her debut in 2009 makes it feel like she’s been knocking around far longer than her relatively short two years.
For an artist to be celebrating ten years in the industry is therefore quite a big deal- the kind of big deal where your Nan puts Corrie on mute for twenty minutes and gets out the fondant fancies and Babysham. When that artist is a TV talent show winner who managed to maintain a career during a decade which saw the industry morph into something almost unrecognisable from its pre millennium incarnation, AND do it with the same record label he first signed to, AND still be achieving platinum album sales, it’s nothing short of amazing.
Yes, prepare to feel old- this month marks exactly ten years since an unknown Will Young first ambled politely into a Pop idol audition and sang ‘Blame It On The Boogie’ in front of an equally unknown Simon Cowell. Young went on to win Pop Idol in February 2002, and while the careers of most of his talent show contemporaries soon went to that Big Karaoke Bar in the sky, Young’s distinctive style and sound soon garnered a loyal fan base who appeared to stick by him as social networking saw the industry fragment into a series of smaller sub genres with smaller sales. During his ten years in the industry he’s managed to sell eight million albums worldwide, and while his last few single sales have been disappointingly low (representing a wider trend in the industry as a whole), his album sales have continued to perform well– each one achieving platinum status.
So what do you do if you’re Will Young and want to celebrate your tenth birthday in the music biz? Down your own weight in WKD and end up sprawled in your own vomit outside a cash point while singing Swagger Jagger to alarmed bystanders?? OF COURSE NOT. This is Will Young, and he’s been very sensibly writing his new album ‘Echoes’, along with producer Richard X and a team of co writers which reads like a modern pop fans wet dream: Sound of Arrows, Groove Armada and Fred Falke to name but a few.
The first single to be released from the album is ‘Jealousy’- a beautiful ‘tears on the dance floor’ electro ballad about unrequited love and the slightly creepy stalker tendencies it can induce. The departure from Young’s usual sound is striking; dance edged and synth heavy, ‘Jealousy’ is Young’s mission statement for the next phase of his career- having the confidence to make music which he genuinely loves while still maintaining a commercial edge. Having written or co-written every song on Echoes it also feels like this could be his most personal album to date, and while a change in direction is always a risk, now feels like the right time for him to take it.
‘Jealousy’ is available to buy from 21st August
‘Echoes’ is available to buy from 22nd August