There are two different versions of Blake Lewis in Audio Day Dream (ADD – get it?). One Blake Lewis is someone who tries to sound like Justin Timberlake – in other words, a white bloke pretending to be a Black gangsta – while the other Blake Lewis is the lead singer of a New Romantics band in the early 1980s who somehow manages to find himself in 2007. The former is laughable and quite ridiculous, really, while the latter has me clutching my Roxy Music T-shirt to my chest and give a delighted squeal like a silly girl.
Forget the overproduced fluff like the lead single Break Anotha and the likes of Gots to Get Her – inspired by Puttin’ on the Ritz, as the song listing indicates helpfully, in case I’m too busy laughing at Mr Lewis’ affected Jamaican accent and beat-boxing to notice – I’m more intrigued by this throwback to the New Romantics who croons and charms his way through the likes of How Many Words, the wickedly fabulous Surrender, and the surprisingly melancholic yet enjoyable 1000 Miles.
No, really, Surrender is dangerously good enough to turn me into raving Blake Lewis fangirl where none of his American Idol performances ever could. I am pretty surprised myself by how much I embrace and enjoy the Blake Lewis who ditches the laughable hip-hop pretensions and affects instead the more beautiful moments of now-kitschy pop sounds that reminds me of anything from Billy Idol to Animotion to OMD to Ultravox. Okay, so he sometimes sounds like Adam Levine’s shorter and less smarmy little brother at times, but like that lady on How Many Words will say: “I-I-I I-I-I do!” indeed.