Monday, 3 October 2016

MusicMonday's SoundOfTheWeek: Following My Intuition - Craig David

When I first heard that Craig David was coming out with a new album, I must admit that I did wonder what it was going to sound like. If I'm brutally honest, I haven't liked a single release since Born To Do It barring the odd album cut (need I remind you of that awful ice cream flavour song *shudders*), and so I questioned whether this was going to be anything that I could really enjoy as much.

Listening to opening track Ain't Giving Up, a hardcore dance anthem that makes you yearn for Ibizan shores; I thought 'this isn't too bad, nothing to offend my ears here'. In fact, I marveled at the fuller, richer sound of his voice. David seems to have developed a smoother texture that I don't remember in previous years - and I liked it. It made the track sound sexier, and more inviting, until thoughts of my bikini body crept in and made me skip to the next track in colder climes.

When The Bassline Drops and Don't Go follow in much the same vein as the opener, the only variance being a slower intro for the latter. It isn't until you check the track information that you learn 16 is not a Fill Me In remix, but a recycled version (in a good, responsible 21st century consumer kind of way). With the addition of a brand new bassline that makes the original sound like a pale comparison, and a rap filler that reminds you that David also does that sort of thing, the new version is the best moment of the album up to that point.

Could It Be Mine is an annoyance to every female on the planet. Despite the nice production, the lyrics are arrogant stinkers of Usher Raymond proportions. Lamenting over the prospect of imminent fatherhood, rather than questioning why he didn't put a jimmy on it (I know he's old enough to remember TLC and all of Left Eye's condoms) - he's calling the poor female's virtue into question. There's a name for the kind of role he casts himself in during this song, but as a lady, I'm not going to publish it...Arsehole (oops, my bad, I forgot my ladylike ways behind the line of sisters wronged by these types of male children).

Attempting to make amends for his previous spineless efforts, One More Time is a dance banger that I imagine being huge in the clubs before week's end, and on the holiday shores all of next Summer. Out to save his relationship, it's a last chance saloon type of ditty. Taking the pace down, Change My Love is a nice, mellow pop song for those not entranced by the main dance theme. It's a nice change of pace that reminds you David is not a one trick pony. Before you can get too comfortable however, Nothing Like This takes us back to the floorfillers. Ever the romancer, this one is the borderline dance equivalent of the previously mentioned Usher's U Make Me Wanna.

Slowing down again, All We Needed is a piano-led ballad about a doomed love out of its time. It left me scratching my head through most of it, as I felt that the lyrics were quite ambiguous, and it was hard to tell who he was singing to until near the end? Louder Than Words begins with a Spanish guitar that matches the timbre of David's voice perfectly, before turning into a hard drum-led ballad that mimics the emotion of a downtrodden boyfriend badly treated by a scheming girlfriend.

What If is the standout album track for Yours Truly. The most RnB-led track, with a Walking Away throwback; David sings of possibly losing out on the love of his life because he let the opportunity pass him by. The production is absolutely stellar, and the vocals reach ultimate perfection with David's trademark harmonies in the background. Like A Fan is another ballad - although of a poppier tense. A shoe on the other foot track where the lady in question has him chasing his tail, he can't get over feeling like the females that he has given the run around in the past. After a one night stand, that beautiful thing called Karma came to bite him in his backside - class.

Better With You takes us back to the guitar, and once again, the paired back ballad gives the vocals a chance to take centre stage. It's a good love song that you can tell will absolutely slay a live crowd. No Holding Back takes us back uptempo, but in a welcome Artful Dodger type of way. We even get the trademark 'Craig David and etc.' melodic tagline (replace with Robbie Craig where appropriate and you'll know what I'm talking about). Here With Me officially takes us back to the Soulful Garage days, and if you were a fan of the genre like me, then it's a welcome trip down memory lane.

Craig David

Warm It Up takes has a calypso-tinged rhythm that, like most of this album, will see David firmly back on the map when it comes to the discussion of vocal dance heavyweights of the current era. The skill with which he melodically rides the beat reminds us why we love David's multifaceted abilities. Sink or Swim closes us out with RnB smoothness. In some places, the production almost seem bigger than him, but for the most part David holds his own and overall, it's a nice place to finish.

It's safe to say that with the calibre of this album and the growth that he exhibits as an artist, timing will never be an issue - David's a sure fire bet to be one of those artists who can go away and come back as many times as he likes without missing a beat. It's clear after all that with a standard like this to offer, Craig David's Intuition is right on the money.

Following My Intuition is available at all independent retailers now.

That's all for this week folx - be sure to come back next week for a bumper round of reviews that we didn't get to touch on today, like Solange's incredible A Seat At The Table, Banks' alternative The Altar, and the controversial Frank Ocean's Blonde. See you next week for Music or on Wednesday for this week's Fashion fix - don't forget I'll be talking International Jewellery London 2016, and the start of my three-part London Fashion Week SS17 series - it's gonna be BIG!

Until the next...