Single Review: Kele – ‘Everything You Wanted’

Jumping right to the point: I have a problem with Kele.

No, it’s not that he’s homosexual. Neither is it that I envy his good looks or his fame or that I’m annoyed with the fact he’s left Bloc Party to pursue of different sound… it’s his voice.

Kele clearly has a good set of lungs and can really put some welly behind his notes; you can see from any song he’s done so far, with or without Bloc Party, the man can belt a tune. But what gets to me is that a lot of the time he sounds like he’s a yelping dog writhing in pain, and the fact his first solo single ‘Tenderoni’ was completely inaudible in the vocal department, it was beginning to get tedious.

But now Kele’s attempting his first real heartfelt ballad since ‘I Still Remember’ which was with Bloc Party back in 2007, and back then his sexuality was still unknown but speculated thanks to the eloquent nature of the lyrics and the fact Kele confirmed the song to be “semi-autobiographical”. But now, with Kele confirming that he is homosexual, his ballads take on a more meaningful, credible feel as there’s no cloud of androgyny surrounding them. There‘s something about the whole concept – especially in today’s very unforgiving society – that makes ‘Everything You Wanted’ so much more emotive than ‘I Still Remember’.

Clouding ‘I Still Remember’ in androgyny and controversy made it puzzling to listen to, and there was always that idea niggling at the back of my mind that the whole song was completely faked and not heartfelt at all.

That is not the case with ‘Everything You Wanted’.

Artists like La Roux, who claim to be completely androgynous, will never write or sing a proper ballad, because they’ll always be that mystery around it whether it’s properly heartfelt of just acted very well, but with Kele, we know he’s singing to another guy and he’s opening up, chasing away taboos, banishing after-thoughts and just giving it a proper go.

“I know the time for us has passed/But you must know one thing” Kele sings with remorse before wailing into the chorus which, as well as sadness, overflows with confusion too. “I could’ve given you everything you wanted/Everything you needed”, and for once, Kele’s yelping dog impression actually does him justice – it makes it sound like he’s crying on the record but in such a compelling way; in a way that it translates to the listener, and exaggerates the song’s appeal. It doesn’t sound painful or forced, it sounds natural and adds to the credibility of the songs lyrics: he’s actually performing them, rather than just singing them.

And here’s something interesting; because of the nature of the song it obviously doesn’t grab you right away – it’s not supposed to but – when I turned it off, a few minutes later I thought to myself, “I want to listen to it again”, and it gradually grew on me as a song that opens up wholly the idea of a relationship that has fallen apart, with one of the lovers left completely clueless as to why their partner left them; a bit sadistic of me, yes, but listen to it and tell me it doesn’t do the same to you.

Here’s the video: Kele’s attempting to do one of those 80’s-inspired video that’s basically one shot walking through London town (although he’s walking a bit slower than the Pet Shop Boys), intercut with scenes of bright lights and Kele crying.

*Gets tissue*

Despite the slightly out-of-place drums and the recurring piano chord, the emotion in this song lies in Kele’s voice, and even if he does sound like a yelping dog, it certainly does wonders for the ears.

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: August 16, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘The Boxer’

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