Matt Cardle LETTERS Album Review

I’ve been mooching through the reviews already online of this album and trying to square some of them with what’s actually coming through my earphones. It’s a futile exercise, we all have our own opinions and, if you know me, you’ll be aware I wouldn’t even be writing this if I didn’t have positive things to say, so let’s get on with it. I’m going to discuss the deluxe 2cd  set with the 5 acoustic  tracks. There seem to be three versions floating around, the basic single cd, the aforementioned  deluxe and the one with a bonus cd of X Factor tracks, so I just wanted to be clear.

 

Tracks on cd1

Starlight – The second single from this album. Starts with a thumping beat supported by a rhythmic repeated single piano note, then the rest of the band plus strings, orchestra, the lot come piling in. A real rock track with an anthemic hook. I can see fans singing along as he belts this one out.  Hands in the air!

Run For Your Life – I already reviewed this song when it was released and I still like it.

All For Nothing – A bluesy track that I really love, even if it’s a bit morbid. I get visions of friends driving somewhere, singing along and shrieking out those high notes. Sorry, being irreverent now, but there’s something that just demands that I sing along…. sorry neighbours.

Pull Me Under – A rocky number that just cries out to be performed in a huge arena. His voice switches in and out of falsetto effortlessly and between softly murmured and belting out. And that brilliant final echoing last note.

Amazing – A signature of this album is the quiet, stripped back intro with Cardle’s perfect voice and not much else, building with chiming guitar and subtle bass and drums. By halfway through we have backing singers, strings and all sorts, dropping back down to just him and whumph in comes all the rest filling up every nook and cranny with beautiful sounds. Is it amazing? Oh yes.

Faithless – I’ve seen several reviews describing the album as a collection of power ballads. I don’t agree, but it could be applied to this song. Quite spine-tinglingly good.

Beat of a Breaking Heart – Have a box of tissues close at hand.

Stars & Lovers – This has to be released as a single, it’s another anthemic sound.  I feel a bout of singing coming on again – think I’d better get the neighbours their own copy so they can join in.

Letters – The song he opened the album launch with, starting acoustic and going into this more produced version. Listening to the two separately I can’t say which I prefer. I just LOVE this song. Another that builds and builds and he sings notes that no man should be able to reach, and does it beautifully. I hate the term falsetto, there’s nothing false about this.

Reflections – Another singalong in the best sense. At concerts he probably won’t be able to hear himself over the audience .

Walking on Water – From the very first note this track is so beautiful it almost hurts to listen to. Not entirely sure about the slightly muted twiddly guitar bits on this, would have preferred it without, but it is growing on me with each listen.

Slowly – Powerful, sad, gentle, as slow as its title, rebellious, crumbling into passion. I can’t actually get my thoughts together when I’m listening to this one, so I may have to skip it on the car stereo, just to avoid crashing – or perhaps pull over for three minutes and twenty-nine seconds.

When We Collide – That Biffy Clyro cover that sold nearly a million and the only other track not penned by Cardle. Needs no introduction, so I won’t. And that concludes the first disc.

 

Tracks on cd2 (all acoustic)

For You – A very soft voiced apology that’s hard to refuse. So pretty and understated you’d need to have a hard heart to resist this plea. I can see this one being played to patch up a few relationships.

Letters – Just him and an acoustic guitar. Very toned down and kind of angelic. I can see this one appealing to lovers separated by thousands of miles. I’m actually getting chills as I’m listening. Did I say I couldn’t choose between the two versions? Well this is the one for listening to alone, the one on the main cd will be great with company.

Amazing – Really is. This song shows the true beauty of his voice. No distractions, just an acoustic guitar, melodic tune and lyrics that are going to make this the first dance at weddings, the song played to send a relationship into the next phase and another that causes goosebumps. Oh, where are those tissues?

Slowly – Very much more mellow than the original version and again, the emotion comes through. It’s on these stripped back tracks that his voice is really showcased. Maybe the album should come with a complimentary box of tissues.

Walking on Water – Breathtakingly emotional, vocally perfect. Already getting abbreviated to WOW and I’d say that’s appropriate, but could also stand for Weepy or What. Very short at 2.5 minutes, but lacking nothing.

 

Now I have to tell you , I’m a diehard Seven Summers fan and despite my huge admiration for Matt as a solo artist, I was not expecting him to top their eponymous album, but yes, yes, I think he has. Seven Summers aside, this album blows everything in my music collection out of the water.

 

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