Olly Murs: Never Been Better

Posted March 4, 2015 by in Disco



2.5/ 5


Genre: , , ,
Producer: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Label: ,
Genre: Pop
Producer: Jason Evigan, Steve Robson, Martin Johnson, Peter Wallevik, Daniel Davidsen, Cutfather, Ryan Tedder, Tom Barnes, Pete Kelleher, Ben Kohn, Steve Mac, Paul Weller, Jamie Scott, Matt Prime, Future Cut
Label: Syco, Epic
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 47:12
Release Date: 10 March 2015
Spin This: "Did You Miss Me," "Wrapped Up," "Seasons"


The two opening tunes show off edge, adventuresome spark.


Halfway into the set, the album plays with a barrage of styles and genres. Some of it is reminiscent of the filler from the last album

UK boy wonder tries to do it all once more – even a little disco and funk – on 2015 disc

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

UK boy wonder tries to do it all once more – even a little disco and funk – on 2015 disc

Former X Factor (UK) runner-up Olly Murs has been trying to break new ground on American ears since the drop of 2012’s “Troublemaker.” The lead single off his fourth solo album Right Place Right Time and the first major one to hit US soil achieved some kind of notoriety, since it sounded like a pale Maroon 5 knock off. It gave him some radio attention, but finding a successful follow-up single proved to be aggravating. The album was marred with dull material and a production quality that seemed out of shape. Despite touring with One Direction and making a modest entry into American pop culture, he hasn’t cashed in like his fellow English stars in the US. Never Been Better, the singer’s newest set, is now prepping for its US arrival and hopes to turn up the volume on his career.

It opens up the set just right. There’s a cool, cocky vigor that surrounds “Did You Miss Me” as it shows off hipster beats akin to George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” and Chromeo’s album track “Old 45s.” Furious zydeco horns highlight the funky chorus instead of a backing chorus, which is a pleasant contrast to common trends. Murs then slides into the Steve Robson-produced funky disco ditty, “Wrapped Up,” which plants him into a Bruno Mars-meets-Chic habitat. Guest rapper Travie McCoy is present to help lift the song from any scathing criticisms of bubblegum pop, but he lands smack dab in the middle of the ire on his closing lyric (“I kinda knew you was troublesome/You got me wrapped around your finger like bubblegum.”). Clearly this is not his best moment, but it’s definitely one of the album’s most memorable tracks. Those expecting more tracks like “Wrapped Up” are in for a rude awakening. Rather than fully embracing the totality of this newly-equipped funk and grit, Murs falls back into neutral territory as a safe adolescent crooner. Some of these across-the-board offerings are assembled fairly better than those of his last album: “Seasons” props him up for more Adam Levine comparisons; “Nothing Without You” – a potential radio magnet – packs in light piano chords, melodic fervor and breezy romance; a Demi Lovato duet plays with Americana ingredients (“Up”). But much of the disc tries to appease every soul and does very little to wow them. When you hear “Stick With Me,” it’s obvious it wants to play up to Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” By the time, Murs goes through soft rock (“Hope You Got What You Came For”) and mild pop numbers (“Beautiful to Me, “Never Been Better”), he finds his way back to the funk on “Can’t Say No.” By this time, much of the damage is already done.

He paints a good impression early on, but quickly slides into a realm of safe mediocrity before exposing one more flash of bad-ass progression before bowing out the set with two coffee shop offerings. He and the album’s executive producers poorly miscalculate too soon after the first two songs, possibly thinking too much of an urban makeover might hurt Murs chances for a crossover. Maybe too much funk might back fire, they think. Unfortunately, this is where the album’s biggest mistake lies.

Being an artist that does it all and tries to stuff it all into forty-eight minutes of playtime certainly has its setbacks. In the case of Never Been Better, there’s still a lack of big hooks and inescapable fun. It’s a better album than where he last left off, but this adventure could have been much better had it consolidated some of its ideas and rained heavily with the ones that worked. Murs – who is quite capable of exploring the worlds of pop – needs to also consider on playing with one genre and sticking with it. Trying to be rock star, urban playboy and Nick Lachey protégé all at once is still a bit too much for an artist still relatively new to the game.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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