Release Date: Nov 4, 2013
Record label: Syco Music
You have to feel for James Arthur – being a male contestant on The X Factor is a rum old business. A cursory glance at the show’s progeny reveals that the male solo ‘stars’ are far more likely to end up becoming punch lines (Steve Brookstein, Leon Jackson, Joe McElderry) than enduring successes. The show simply doesn’t know what to do with men whom it can’t push into shiny boy bands – a problem stemming from the wider lack of suitable role models.
On this debut contractual obligation to Simon Cowell, X Factor winner James Arthur sounds exactly like an X Factor winner. That is, unsubtle, unrelentingly emoting and singing every phrase with what sounds like that constipated, really-really-meaning-it face, apparently now as obligatory as the sob story. There's a drag of a duet with the nonetheless gorgeously voiced Emeli Sandé, an embarrassment of a song that includes the words "just pass the jazz cigarette" and throughout an excess of melisma, musical and lyrical cliches and a paucity of ideas.