Nearly 10 years ago, Shayne Ward was the second X Factor winner in the UK and since then he has achieved platinum albums, nationwide tours and has also appeared in theatre shows. Five years after his last studio album ‘Obsession‘, Shayne is back with his fourth record ‘Closer‘. The album was fan-funded through Pledge Music where Shayne teamed up with Mike Stock who produced the album. Stock is responsible for many legendary hits for artists such as Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue, Donna Summer and Jason Donovan.
From the get-go, you can tell by the first track ‘Moving Target‘ that this is a Mike Stock production. It’s slightly 80’s pop instrumental, with its jolly lyrics, is a signature sound from Stock. It’s opening track is better than expected but unfortunately it’s the lead single that follows that starts to bring the record down. Since this album is something Shayne funded himself with his fans, you’d think he’d pick a better single to take off the album campaign, right? Well, ‘My Heart Would Take You Back‘ just sounds like something Westlife didn’t want to release in 2001 because it was even too dated for back then. And guess what? It’s far too dated for 2015 as well!
As the album goes on, you are kind of waiting for more songs with a bit of edge like his previous singles ‘No U Hang Up‘ and ‘If That’s OK With You‘ which kind of made him the UK’s answer to Justin Timberlake in Shayne’s prime. Instead, the album contains more dull ballads like ‘I Never Said‘ and ‘Make It Simple‘, or corny dated pop songs like ‘I’m So Proud Of You’ which sounds like some one hit wonder track from 1986.
One of the deluxe edition tracks is his cover of the Sugababes number one single ‘About You Now‘ which is a pleasant surprise as it’s an emotionally interesting version. It is a completely stripped back, acoustic, heartfelt cover played on the piano and is the albums high point by far.
With there not being many amazing male pop stars out there at the moment in the UK, I was hoping Shayne was going to release something half decent considering he has released a few songs I would call ‘bops‘ back in the day. Unfortunately, the album is what we kind of predicted – songs that sound either dated or left over tracks that other artists didn’t want, which is weird because Shayne pretty much wrote all the songs on the album; minus two of the deluxe tracks. The only track worth skipping to is the Sugababes cover.