Single Review: Shayne Ward – ‘Gotta Be Somebody’

Aha! Just when you thought Simon had given up on him! Shayne Ward is back. Back. BACK! Mwaha! I always knew he’d be back, with some amazing pop tunes, flaunting off his excellent range and yummy vocals and proving why we shouldn’t have ever forgotten about him or branded him a flop! So, Simon may have sidelined him for three years whilst promoting Alexandra and Joe but now he’s back, ready to repay us for the three year wait between this album and his last. But was is he re-gracing the airwaves with hmm? Something exciting? I’ll bet.


Hmm… does Simon really have much faith in him? That he’d bring him back after a three year hiatus with a cover of a semi-hit from a rock band with officially the most hated rock band lead vocalist evahhh?

The cover in question is Nickelback’s ‘Gotta Be Somebody’, which hit #20 in 2008, so it’s not quite the vague kind of cover Joe McElderry was treated to, but nor is it the kind of song you could simply take one listen to, because Simon and his producing team are really getting the hang of this huge pop chorus thing aren’t they?

Although, ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ has it’s negative points, it does do what a pop single says it should do: it’s super catchy, has an explosive chorus with a huge hook, and it has auto-tune. However, this auto-tune is a very bittersweet discovery for Shayne, as it loses one of his biggest assets; if anyone cares to remember, he had a subtly sweet ring to his voice, as well as a deeper gruffness which oozed sexual appeal, but neither of these qualities can be heard over the swamp of auto-tune that’s been smothered over his vocals on this track. It’d take a highly skilled sound engineer weeks to dig out Shayne’s real voice amongst it all.

Moving back to that chorus; it’s clear to see it is quite a chorus isn’t it? Big WOOSH leading up to it? Check. Sing-along appeal? Check. Earworm hook? Check. And I suppose I should be thanking Nickelback for the vocals hooks and the lyrics but I don’t like them very much to be honest. Nor did I like Shayne – or Simon Cowell and his label’s inability to come up with original ideas – but there’s something very likeable about this song’s chorus, which just about counters all the annoying “Am I R&B? Am I pop?” opening verses, and the fact Shayne’s real voice cannot be heard. In that sense it’s quite like ‘Start Without You’, or a car crash: you know you shouldn’t listen (or look), but some part of you is intrigued by it, plus, it’s a lot better than anything Shayne has put out so far.

The video however, is less interesting, as it feature scenes of Shayne being stalked by some form of photography-stalker-lady-thing, interspersed with scenes of him topless and others that see him practising his favourite past-time of mime art. Observe…

The table!

The Shetland pony!

The spinny basketball thing!

The jaunty pouring of a bucket of water!

Very exciting stuff this, isn’t it? Yes it is. Here’s the full video:

It seems Simon realises Shayne’s voice and profile might not make him sell after being off the scene for so long, so they’ve stripped him of his shirt so the woman and teenage girls can oggle. How kind of him.

But regardless of Shayne Ward’s multi-talented assets, or ‘Gotta Be Somebody’s chorus, one thing that really disheartened me about his comeback was when he said this: “We still recording new tracks all the time. If I think a song is really good and Simon gives the all clear, then it goes on the album”. Hmm… not too sure about the “if Simon gives the all clear” part. Look, Shayne’s on the third album of his career and yet, he still needs to get Simon’s permission on what goes in his album? That’s not a good sign; that he doesn’t get any creative control or is too afraid to make his own decisions on his own album after two successful ones.

All in all, it’s an “alright” lead single, but rushing out the album after just one single has spelt disaster for all comebacks this year. X Factor and real artists alike, a lot of them have struggled to sell their respective albums. ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ will achieve success, probably more amplified due to his performance on The X Factor, but I’m not entirely convinced by the song as a whole. It’s a decent pop song with a stonker of a chorus, but as a lead single, the fact it’s a cover of a much better version will hinder him greatly.

Rating: 2.5 STARS

Download: November 8, 2010

Featured Album: ‘Obsession’

Acknowledgements: My thanks to Pop Justice for the photos.

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  1. Gerard McGarry

    Just a thought – are we getting to the point where the album is really and truly dead? Or is the current strategy of releasing the album a week after the first single too hasty? Would albums really sell better if there were two or three singles out there for people to judge the vibe of the album?

    1. Dara Hickey

      I think it’s dependent on the act themselves, as well as their public profile.

      Acts like Beyoncé, Take That, Madonna, Lady GaGa et al, can all return from hiatus and have a huge hit single, release the album a week later and witness huge sales of both single and album.

      Acts that are new (Tinie Tempah); those that have been out of the public eye for a while (Scissor Sisters, Shayne Ward); those that are very rarely seen in a good light (Chris Brown); or those with a small fanbase (Amy MacDonald, Laura Marling) often have to release two or more trailer singles, so to say “HEY” I’m back in case you missed me, and here’s a small taster of my album”.

      Notice how (particularly this year and late last) a lot of artists who’ve come back from years off the scene, and have released one lead single, and then released their respective album one week later have suffered “The Sophomore Slump”, or at least an underperforming album in comparison to their last.

      Scissor Sisters’ universally likeable ‘Fire With Fire’ missed the Top 10, and ‘Night Work’ became their lowest profiting album to date. Mika released “marmite” track ‘We Are Golden’ and then released ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much’ a week later, and even now, it barely holds a candle to the sales of his début ‘Life In Cartoon Motion’.

      But one could argue they are very specialised acts, dealing in highly flamboyant, cheekily sexual and perverse songs, of which have become increasingly unpopular due to the throwaway R&B/Dance scene that’s riding high in the charts right now (a big pointer towards why Joe McElderry underperformed – the genre was outmoded from the start).

      But then again, you could look at acts like The Ting Tings, who are yet to release their album ‘Kunst’, but you only need to see the chart performance of ‘Hands’, which only spent 3 week in the Top 100, and you just know they’re not going to have that #1 album like their début effort despite having a huge following first time round.

      Another act that has… probably… the most predictable chart failure ahead of her in pop music history, is Duffy. Where is her promotion? Her single ‘Well, Well, Well’ has been snubbed by Radio 1 even though they practically wet themselves over her last time; her single’s out in two weeks. And after three years hiatus, will an underperforming single really sell her album? No, she’ll need another single, and she’ll need it to be a hit. But her 60’s-style songs and image seem to have also been outdated by the trashy R&B/Dance scene. So I expect ‘Endlessly’ to be post-poned, as The Hoosiers’ second single from the fantastic ‘The Illusion Of Safety’, ‘Unlikely Hero’ was.

      It’s quite a sad thought then that, the acts who will have the most longevity out of this period in music history are those that fit a generic, pre-constituted image and sound, á la Pixie Lott, Jason Derulo, and Cheryl Cole, leaving acts with true actual personalities and the balls to swin against the tide like Marina & The Diamonds, Duffy, Mika, Florence + the Machine, and The Hoosiers to have underperforming albums and singles post-début.

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