Single Review: Will Young – ‘Jealousy’

“After the first chorus strikes, there’s nothing much here for those who aren’t already enamoured by his vocal talents to enjoy”

3 STARS

Digital Release: August 21, 2011

Physical Release: August 21, 2011

You’d be forgiven for asking what indeed happened to Will Young after ‘Friday’s Child’. After the five-times platinum success of said album and perhaps the lesser successful follow-ups ‘Keep On’ and ‘Let It Go’: there was a Greatest Hits album and a corresponding single – ‘Hopes & Fears’, which stalled at a lowly #65 on the UK Singles Chart – and then there was quite possibly the most head-turning collaboration you could’ve expected from Will whom, at the practically pension able age of thirty-one (and with a ‘replacement’ in the form of one Olly Murs gleefully basking in Will’s dimming limelight), looked to be already heading out of the back door of the music scene: he collaborated with none other than Groove Armada and produced one of the best dance tracks of recent years: ‘History’.

And during his career, Young has become well-known for presenting a seriousness towards his music, and has epitomised the quintessentially adult contemporary pop vibe, either masking dark undertones (‘Your Game’,  ‘Switch It On’) or confronting the sadness head-on (‘All Time Love’, ’Leave Right Now’), but ‘Jealousy’ sounds like a his first attempt at a rave ballad. Produced by Richard X, he absolutely nails the vocal. His voice, and the effortless agility and control he has over it helps it nestle seamlessly into cotton-soft synthesisers whilst ringing with a powerfully emotive vulnerability: a quality unmatched by any of his current peers.

But alas, Young’s still a novice in the vast arena of dance music, and his inexperience is brought to light by the lack of a memorable hook, which is just as much Richard X’s fault. And after the first chorus strikes, there’s nothing much here for those who aren’t already enamoured by his vocal talents to enjoy. Proceedings do however get very convincing, verging on utmost desperation, towards the finale, but sustained brilliance in the is a scarce occurrence.

This new musical tangent may not have been so expected by those who’ve not paid much interest to Young recently, and on paper, Young and dance music doesn’t sound like it could possibly prove fruitful – the surprise change of sound only heightening the project’s infertility due to long-time fans possibly feeling alienated. Excellence was promised by the release of ‘History’ though, and with gallant attempts, ‘Jealousy’ tries to replicate it. It respects Will’s musical heritage and great dignity as a musician, but among other things, the chilled, iciness of his voice and of the synths is overcome by a producer who meandered a little too much in his hopes to create something spectacular that, if left to flourish in it’s right, would’ve done the job and then some.

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