Friday, July 07, 2006

How can I live when I want to be free?

Will Young was the winner of the first Pop Idol--the first "Idol" series to appear anywhere. He, much like American Idol 1 winner Kelly Clarkson (or, more accurately, Kelly would be like Will) has been the most successful of the Pop Idol finalists--3 albums into his career, his popularity shows no sign of waning (he recently topped a "favorite British singer of all time" poll) and, though no one has forgotten that he was "discovered" on Pop Idol, he has proved himself to be an artist in his own right. His "survival" is often credited to his willingness to follow his own path instead of adhering to the style the record company might prefer; his style of pop is a little jazzy. He also seems like an amazing person. So, onto the songs!

Evergreen--Will's first single and a Westlife cover (though I didn't know that when I first heard it). Most people--even Will--seem to look down on this song now, compared to his later career, but it wasn't until I heard it (several months after knowing about Will's existence) that I knew I had found a Will song I could really like (I had really wanted to like his music, but the slow jazzy numbers I had heard beforehand weren't instantly appealing to me; I've since decided many of Will's songs are growers). Like most Idol winners' first songs, it's a ballad, but a great one, sung with emotion but far from being over-the-top in delivery.

Love The One You're With--a non-single from Will's second album and another cover, but an amazing one! Fun, uptempo, and a throwback to an older era. Will's distinctive voice fits perfectly with this song--which might be my favorite Will track.

Switch It On--an uptempo single! Still Will's distinctive style, but it's great to hear him get away from ballads (which, admittedly, he does very well). The music video for this is a must-see.

Happiness--Oddly enough, I first heard this when Will performed it on a dancing show. Also mid to uptempo, but with more higher-octave stuff than "Switch It On."

Don't Cha--Will's first appearance on Jo Whiley's Live Lounge gave the world his much-raved-over cover of "Hey Ya." There's something to be said, though, for the talent it must take to turn a Pussycat Dolls song (OK, technically, Tori Alamaze song) into a fun, still jazzy, male-vocaled version of its former self. The fact that Will is gay gives a whole new meaning to the song.

If you like the songs, you can buy Will's albums in hard copies here and digitally here (or on iTunes, if you live in the UK; the US iTunes used to have his first two albums, but they decided to get rid of them in the past few weeks). Definitely look out for "All Time Love" and "Who Am I," Will's two most recent singles (both gorgeous ballads, if growers for me).

Up next: a Pop Idol runnerup who seems to inspire strong emotions--one way or the other--wherever he goes. I should have a few tracks that are at least a little rarer than today's (ish).


Paul said...

William Young is by far my favourite male singer... i love Switch It On but can't stop playing Ain't Such A Bad Place to be right not...i can't wait to see him live again in October...

Poster Girl said...

Live?! Lucky you--I bet Will is phenomenal live. That voice! And he has so many types of songs that I feel as if I can always find one to suit my mood.