Darius, more commonly known as that man who sang a terrible over-embellished version of Britney Spears‘ Baby One More Time on Pop Idol, has unbelievably survived in the industry long enough to release his second album. Those who despise reality TV shows (a good 65 per cent of the population) would immediately dismiss any of the Scot’s musical attempts. But on listening to this album, it’s perhaps a little unfair to judge him based upon just how he became famous.
Saying that, no matter how he got to where is today, you can summarise the album in one word: cheesy. Unbelievably so. Every trick in the book of how to sell pop records has been used. There’s the cliched lines: “Just one more day with you, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do” (Live Twice), and the toe-curlingly Westlife song strategy where the momentum reaches a high in the chorus after a sedate verse. Everything about this record is formulaic.
The opener Kinda Love is Darius’ latest single. It’s upbeat and has every potential to sell bucket-loads, although it would leave most of us asking why. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, it’s just a song destined to the please the masses of Pop Idol fans.
The traditional up tempo number, ballad, up tempo, ballad format is evident throughout this CD but to his credit Darius manages to shoehorn the record out of the traditional pop shmuck rut by adding his own inimitable vocal and music styling.
However, this also leads the album to sound unintentionally eclectic. The clean stream-lined pop record ends up spitting out various genres. For example, Live Twice verges on Enrique Iglesias plagiarism whereas Love To Love moves towards recent indie times, a tamer version of Doves or Coldplay.
One brief respite from the criticism would be to commend Darius for at leasting add some personal lyrics to the conveyor belt pop music splurging out from the speakers here. In fact, we’re even privy to a slightly darker side to this wanna be pop hero when he sings in Better Man: “I know that I’m not perfect, and sometimes I’m not worth it”.
So, fans of Pop Idol and anything remotely related to the whole identikit pop star industry will undoubtedly rush out to buy this album. The songs are catchy, Darius has a distinctive voice and admittedly the music is a clear development for the better compared to his previous releases. But ultimately this album is just bland and average. On the plus side though, let’s all thank heavens that there isn’t a Britney Spears cover on here…