Single Review: Olly Murs – ‘Heart On My Sleeve’

Oh, Olly. Olly Murs. Olly, Olly, Olly. How are you? Feel a little sentimental? ‘Tis okay to feel that way, mate. G’won, sing a little ‘Thinking Of Me’: a bit of cod-fish reggae will cheer you up. No? How about a nice crack at ‘Please Don’t Let Me Go’, then? Still no? Okay, what about– OH GOD NO. He’s not? He is. He’s doing it. Oh dear Lord above. Here comes the big emotional ballad. Someone stop him. Please?

Olly Murs always did strike me a someone who’s life was forever filled with a little too much optimism: no matter how bad things get, there’s always that glimmer of silver lining in Olly Murs’ cheeky-chappy lifestyle. This is clearly not the case if you listen to ‘Heart On My Sleeve’, the third single from his eponymous début album.

But now, it’s out with the saccharine, verging on intolerably sweet reggae-pop concoctions he cooked up for us thus far – however inordinate – in the forms of ‘Please Don’t Let Me Go’ and ‘Thinking Of Me’, and instead Olly’s turning his smile upside down as he prepares for full-blown balladry.

Written by James Morrison, the song has more than a nod towards the typical Ryan Tedder/Gary Barlow-penned ballads of recent times with a sprinkling of the typical X Factor Winner’s Single to it. And ultimately, it leaves a deeply unsatisfying feeling that the singer never really connects with the listener despite Olly calling down the Heavens. Unfortunate, and yes, a little harsh, but the lyric “You think you’ve heard this before/So I’ll try and say it differently” really does make one chuckle as he’s clearly not bothered with gift-wrapping or sprucing up the standard lyrics, production and structure and instead has left the listener very under-whelmed, gazing into a commodious void of nothing particularly new or note-worthy.

The lyrics themselves, in true James Morrison style, sound like they’ve been randomly selected from a Hallmark verse generator and even though Olly’s finally proving there’s a bit of gusto hiding in the depths behind that cheeky grin, no matter how hard he appears to wail, nothing can really stop it from becoming something very typical of Morrison’s most banal moments, or even James Blunt’s most banal moments – you pick which one you find worse. There’s hints of Take That #2 in there as well, with stings a-plenty when the song climaxes and big, loud snare drum to give it the essence of a modernised power ballad. However, the song doesn’t manage to raise itself from being a simple two-dimensional dirge that serves as a fruitless attempt at conveying heartbreak.

It’s not terrible. It just… does nothing. It goes all limp when you expect something big to happen and it’s not memorable in the slightest. It doesn’t really say “Hey, this is me, Olly Murs” because it’s a very recycled sound that almost all male solo singers in the last ten years or so have peddled at least once during their career. So by no means is it one of those unforgivable pop crimes, like Kylie Karaoke, I just wanted something a bit more, like maybe, ‘Change Is Gonna Come’ – a far superior track still waiting to be released.

Here is the video: It’s one o’ them slowies, where everything is slowed down to make it look reflective and emotional…

…truth is, it just makes it drag. And what’s with the bottled water? Especially seeing as the glasses are next to the tap?

James Morrison should’ve probably kept this one on the back-burner, or not bothered recording it all. It’s clearly meant to be heart-felt and I do think Olly’s version betters the original recording however, it’s still just a vapid ballad with the structure like hundred others, offering absolutely nothing new to the world of pop circa. 2011, and I get the very irritating feeling that this would flop if released by an unknown artist because ballads are still, annoyingly, unfashionable. And it seems only tabloid celebrities can get away with them these days. Or at least, them or Bruno Mars.

Rating: 2.0 STARS

Download: March 7, 2011 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Olly Murs’

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