“His voice sits far more comfortably amidst the club-ready production, making the usual synthesised suspects actually bearable to listen to”
Digital Release: July 22, 2012
Physical Release: N/A
In a music industry saturated with pretty-boys aimed at teenaged girls it’s hard to imagine whereabouts Conor Maynard is going to fit. With Justin Bieber currently earning his stripes as the stuff of pre-teen wet dreams, The Wanted doing something or other with somebody in a studio, and the One Direction boys singing to appease the not-so-insecure insecurities of the teenybopper market, you’ve essentially got One Direction taking the place of Justin Bieber two years ago, The Wanted still causing me to scratch my head as to what exactly they aim to do in music, and Justin Bieber trying to take the place of every other male non-rapper artist in the US, while still promising fathers to have their daughters home by ten. But whilst many similarities can be drawn between Bieber and Maynard (slick beats, slick moves, silky smooth baby faces, etc.) the latter not only comes across as instantly more likeable, but his bravado doesn’t sound out of place, nor pasted over with some needless dance-move tributes to untouchable legends. Where Bieber will still be pussy-foot around a girl showering her in clichéd adornments of beauty and delight and whatever, singing practically the same songs he did when he was merely a YouTube act (only, with a deeper voice), Maynard actually comes across as confident and with a hint more maturity than Bieber.
About the release of Maynard’s ‘Can’t Say No’, there wasn’t a great deal of fuss as he was just a second-rate Bieber probably expecting to stand-up to the challenge of taking over Bieber reigns as purveyor of derivative teenybopper flattery, but on closer inspection, Maynard was much more, if still a little superfluous to the industry. He’s still superfluous, but with The Wanted straying dangerously close to MOR dance-pop banality and One Direction pre-occupied with America the court is open for him; his rise couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. Whilst both he and Bieber will have to work on their declarations of love (fondue always seemed like a very desperate rhyme and an odd choice of food for a first date, and a Vegas show-girl is just about the last thing a young pre-teen wants to be compared to), and both have suitably well-slicked and polished productions (one of ‘Vegas Girl’s biggest strengths), Maynard’s strength, which comes out in leaps and bounds on ‘Vegas Girl’, is that his voice sits far more comfortably amidst the club-ready production, making the usual synthesised suspects actually bearable to listen to – he doesn’t sound awkward and his voice doesn’t need to be altered to a breathy whisper or anguished falsetto in order to convey ounces of sexiness or desperation. With pitch-bending and retriggering thrown in for good measure, even the production sounds effortless cool and confident of it’s own appeal.
‘Vegas Girl’ isn’t trying to be something new, and nor is it trying to be something it’s not, (Mike Posner, pay attention), so no points for originality or even for the bridge full of name-dropping. It’s merely a validation of Conor Maynard as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to chart music. He’s played his cards well and made his name in modern urban pop, and if Justin Bieber’s success is anything to go by, he won’t be shifting any time soon.