Single Review: Olly Murs – ‘Oh My Goodness’

“The chorus is pure contemporary pop heaven … but it’s just a little shallow in it’s lyrical content”

3 STARS

Digital Release: April 1, 2012

Physical Release: April 2, 2012

I’ve been considering what Olly Murs meant with the album name ‘In Case You Didn’t Know’. What actually is it that we didn’t know and he now intends to enlighten us on? Upon listening to it, there’s very little we learn, so it stands to reason we did in fact know originally what he intended to tell us. Maybe it’s just that he thought it was a nice album title – an ambiguous chunk of rhetoric to intrigue it’s listeners. Best guess from this reviewer is that he’s trying to tell us he’s in love; that’s all Murs appears capable of writing about, but the extent to which his yearnings and desperate confessionals represent real life is tossed straight out of the window even by ‘In Case You Didn’t Know’s second track ‘Oh My Goodness’.

If ever there was anyone in today’s pop industry with the ability to write instantly sellable love songs about the age-old clichés, now so worn out they’re fraying at the seams and generating a whiff of archaism about them, then it’s Olly Murs. He’s a master of spinning tired love song concepts into gold, but his main downfall is that all his love songs appear to be written for people in relationships, written by someone who’s never actually had one. This over-simplification of something so hard to achieve can often be the reason for his success – that he makes falling in love seem easy, like it’s a mere triviality that just ‘occurs’. Even when he’s proclaiming all the emotional turmoil his lover makes him feel he sounds, in some oddly perverse way, like he’s enjoying it. It’s no crime, but it does make him slightly hard to relate to. It’s not normal for something to fall flat on their face and still be grinning, is it? 

Listening to ‘Oh My Goodness’ is an odd sort of challenge. In many ways it’s not a challenge at all, because as soon as Murs’ vocals croon over the first lines you instantly slot the song into “Easy-Listening”. However, when the faintest traces of auto-tune are heard and the production gets a kick up the arse and explodes into full-scale campness, it all sort of becomes a bit much. I imagine being a self-respecting girl and listening to this song is a bit like an aural version of the Cinnamon Challenge – it’s very impressive to show off to your mates that your not phased by endless declarations of love but as soon as you start to, section by section, take in lines like “Gonna go for it; hope your ready for it” your eyes begin to water and it becomes a far easier option to simply spit the stuff out.

In terms of his doe-eyed enthusiasm towards the topic of love, you’d think Olly would’ve matured by now; at the practically pensionable age of twenty-seven he still flits in and out of dreamy piano and celebratory horns as he serenades whenever he fancies, often oblivious to the opinion-splitting nature of his music; half look on in smitten adulation and others sit with furrowed eyebrows scratching their heads as the image of a prepubescent boy hugging himself, rocking gently with his eyes closed and lips puckered as he imagines a girl in his arms makes an A1 poster spread on the walls of our minds, all to the tune of some of the most playfully catchy pop melodies he’s ever come out with. The chorus is pure contemporary pop heaven and there’s not a bad bridge to tie it to the verses, but as something that’s credible and relatable to anyone who’s not under the illusion love can be reduced down to a simple description of confusion between head and heart it’s just a little shallow in it’s lyrical content.

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