Donkeyboy comes under the radar of folks outside of Norway when Joe McElderry, the so-called winner of UK’s The X-Factor show, covered their big hit Ambitions in a manner reminiscent of a middle-aged uncle butchering the song in the shower using the worst falsetto ever. Don’t let Ambitions fool you, however, into thinking that the rest of the album is in the same vein. Okay, in a way, it is, as this album features a collection of feel-good synth-pop songs with suspect English lyrics. But Ambitions is easily the most catchy song in this CD, and the female vocals are provided by Linnea Dale who appeared as a guest vocalist only on that track, Awake, and Sometimes. Just like how Roxette’s songs are a hundred times better when Marie Fredriksson is injecting her fiery vocals into the mix, Ms Dale adds some fiery counterbalance to the falsetto and rather reedy vocals of the guys.
If I am to compare Donkeyboy with those Scandivanian English pop groups out there, songs like Sleep in Silence, Broke My Eyes, and the title track place Donkeyboy in the “not as instantly catchy as Roxette, but filling in that spot of Pretty Fun Blokes now that a-ha is past its sell-by date” category. It’s too bad that none of these other tracks has the immediate infectiousness of Ambitions, which is a near-perfect pop song that comes with a chorus that demands a group singalong even if most people would have no idea what exactly that song is about.
Corny, cheesy, but undeniably ear candy all the same, Caught in a Life is pretty good for both the right and wrong reasons.