People outside the UK may not be aware of who Will Young is. He’s the winner of the first Pop Idol and From Now On is his debut CD. I don’t know what I am expecting when I pick this CD over that irritating Gareth Gates’s, but I am happy to report that Will Young is… not as bad as I thought.
His voice has a slick and smooth quality that reminds me of a nice hot cup of creamy java. With the right materials, he can be one sexy guy whose voice can reach out and do obscene fun things to the listener. The people producing this CD seems to vaguely understand that Will Young’s voice really shines in torchy lounge anthems, so many of the songs here, unfortunately, sound like rejects from late night jazz karaoke. The truly horrific covers of Evergreen – a hideous song that should never be covered in the first place – and The Long and Winding Road – a long and tortuous way to sleep, truly – don’t help matters.
A few songs are really good though. Mr Young will never compare to Jim Morrison, but his silky version of Light My Fire – more Andy Williams than The Doors here – surprisingly works very well until he starts hitting the high notes, where the song then goes down the drain of melodramatic misfires. Will Young comes off as sexiness personified in his almost Marvin-Gaye-like way of singing in Side by Side, and damn, he is pure aural candy in that moment. From Now On is nowhere nearly as infectious as the pure slice of musical heaven that is Side by Side, but I like singing along to the chorus.
Another favorite track is Over You. This sexy track brings to mind sexy molls and glorious excesses of Depression-era noir movies. As an anthem of unrepentant promiscuity, this one is a smooth jazzy track with great guitar riffs and Will Young trying his best to channel George Michael on an acid trip.
So that’s it. I like four tracks out of thirteen. The remaining tracks are a Burt Bacharach overlong nightmare – the man in fact co-pen What’s in Goodbye on this CD – nondescript and anonymous like the background music piped in at a late night pub where the depressed and utterly lonely just want to get drunk and shag each other rather than to enjoy the music. It’s really a pity that this album is close to being totally unmemorable. Will Young has a nice rich voice that can be used in so many devastating and disparate ways such as his sexy Side by Side and unabashed sexual mischief in Over You. The man can sing as long as he doesn’t launch into his exaggerated melodramatic vocals such as during the painful Fine Line.
Maybe, given time, he can carve himself a more adult niche with his voice, which is more than I can say for his Pop Idol rival, Gareth Gates, who, in two years’ time, will be a pathetic has-been who makes horrific duets with Chesney Hawkes in some sad attempt at rekindling his pathetic career. Will Young though seems he’s above all that nonsense. Time will tell if he can make something out of his very listenable voice. First, he needs to sack his writing team. Then, he can conquer the world.