Single Review: Matt Cardle – ‘Amazing’

“Listening to ‘Amazing’ and enjoying it is nothing too hard”

3 STARS

Digital Release: January 19, 2012

Physical Release: N/A

Don’t quote me on this, but somewhere along the line, the Matt Cardle solo success post-X Factor brigade appeared to sort of… deflated a little, to the sound of a huge brass ensemble suddenly realising all the snivelling falsetto and ad-lobbing made Cardle sound as masculine as a lavender-scented Kleenex, and loosing all capacity to blow their horns anymore. Modest little Cardle and his hat undoubtedly felt safe when his fanbase were voting for how he displayed his excellent skill in glorified karaoke every weekend whilst in the narrow confines of The X Factor, but after taking away Cowell’s promo-machine, disappearing off the radar for a few months and expecting to come back with a bang having only been armed with a second-rate whoopee-cushion of a song penned by Gary Barlow, you do wonder how long it took them to realise Cardle’s record labels had made a mistake.

Cardle’s music is a faded pastel-coloured mirage of nice-guy charm, inoffensiveness and a touch feeling unworthy of the love of someone, strummed along to the gentle sway of his guitar: it’s hardly the recipe for the most groundbreaking and innovative music ever written. And whilst Cardle managed to raise pulses somewhat successfully (well, at least he did for those who actually heard it) on second single ‘Starlight’, third single ‘Amazing’ drops the soaring sissy-rock fanfare; the detail-abolishing cacophony of whatever sounds good in rock music is swiftly replaced by a demure little confessional and a suitably rousing crescendo. It’ll do very little to convince any of his detractors that his music is anything other than anaemic Keane, but it might just coax fence-sitters into labelling the song ‘Guilty Pleasure’. Rhapsodising reflectively about how “you came out of nowhere like lightning” may seem like trying to swallow a loaf of marzipan, but it serves a better awareness of intimacy than the senseless requests he’s sung of in the past, like the title of ‘Run For Your Life’, for example. And his dainty, feather-weight voice and it’s ability to transform into a full-throated cry at the beat of a drum pleasantly softens the blow of even the most grisly moments of ‘Amazing’ (“I had to pinch myself”, “The stairway to Heaven, oh, it starts in Hell”) where you may find his lyrical hand a little too heavy to do the obligatory of this ilk of music and hoist your heart up into your throat.

But even in it’s eye-rolling wetness, it succeeds if you could avoid any of Cardle’s ‘explanations’ behind the song. It’s a soppy piece of try-hard rock, and there’s nothing wrong with liking that in music (in moderation) but to try and make it sound like anything other than that would just buff away what little shine it exudes. Listening to ‘Amazing’ and enjoying it is nothing too hard, especially now as Cardle has dropped the cosmological, metaphorical nonsense that coloured his previous two efforts, and if nothing else, it’s a reminder that there’s nothing wrong with blunted, pre-packaged stadium rock.

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