Album Reviews

Derek McDonald – Inescapable

(Universal) UK release date: 25 October 2004

Derek McDonald - Inescapable When the CD case to Derek McDonald‘s album Inescapable refused to open, I knew it was a sure fire sign that I was not meant to listen to it. Unfortunately, given time and a few rough tugs, the case did eventually unlock and as opener Hurts So Bad came pelting out of my stereo, I realised that I was better off leaving the case unopened.

“Hurts so bad, how could I have lost the only love that I had” are among the cheesy lyrics that just reel off this album. It’s as if someone actually asked a 10 year old girl to write a love poem and then handed it to Derek McDonald in an attempt to make a quick buck or two from the 10’s of his adoring fans. Oh, McDonald writes his own songs? Whoops…

Like most albums of this sort there’s an upbeat track, then a ballad, then a good ol’ upbeat track once again followed by a heart wrenching ballad. The titles themselves are just as predictable – Alone Again and She Belongs To Someone Else explaining the heartache surrounding most of McDonald’s material which he, unfortunately, had to unleash upon the world.

Instead of sounding like Stevie Wonder, Usher or Mary J Blige (who he lists as his inspirations in life), McDonald comes across as an unsuccessful Will Young or a member of 911 who’s decided to go solo.

Regrettably for Derek, but probably favourable to his discoverer Simon Cowell, McDonald sounds just like any other Pop Idol entrant who made it to the Top 15 or so. His years of singing and songwriting may be awe-inspiring for most as his first brush with fame came about at the tender age of 16, but it’s not as impressive as it would be had McDonald’s material consisted of a shred of originality. I hate to demean an artist so, but in order to appeal to those above the age of 9, McDonald is going to have to realise that cheesy pop numbers are so 1994 rather than 2004.

Following the traditional upbeat/ ballad order, none of the songs on this album stand out as being of a particularly high standard. The ballad Miracle, a collaboration with Christina Undjem – don’t act like you don’t know her – is one of those songs where you’d think they’d just sing the word miracle but no, its ‘miirr-aaaaaaa-cccllleeeeeeee’ in order to make a potential two and a half minute song last five minutes.

The only thing that I can respect about this album is that McDonald writes his own material unlike most genetically modified pop acts created by the irritating Simon Cowell. Other than that, let’s just hope he really isn’t inescapable.

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