Saturday, August 12, 2006

Gotta break down the wall that hides you

I've been thinking a lot about covers lately, so I thought I'd make today's focus a man who you can't really discuss without discussing covers: Bryan Rice. Bryan Rice is a Danish singer that Popnation Street introduced me to, or at least reminded me of, since I'd actually read about him earlier in relation to Shayne Ward. His first album, Confessional, is ballad-heavy, and for some people might be bland, but it's pretty good. You might not want to listen to the whole album at once, unless you're really in a ballad mood, but there are some definite stand-out songs. A lot of Confessional's songs have been sung by other people (sometimes before Bryan, but most often afterwards), so I've provided some other versions just for comparison's sake.

Homeless Heart (Amanda Stott version)
Homeless Heart (Bryan Rice version)
Thanks to Popnation Street, I know this is not written by Bryan Rice, but I'm not sure whether Amanda's version or Bryan's version was released first (and so I don't know who technically covered who; I think Amanda's was first, though). The Amanda Stott (a Canadian singer) version is low-quality in sound (sorry about that). It's a ballad, and a really pretty one. The two versions are pretty similar, except for one being sung by a woman and one by a man. Sweet, delicate, piano-lead verses and a sort of catchy chorus. This is probably the best song on Bryan's CD.

No Promises (Shayne Ward version)
No Promises (Bryan Rice version) (I had to delete this song and reupload it; if there's still a problem with it, let me know)
I know people were disappointed to learn that Shayne Ward's (a winner of the UK's X Factor, a TV series that's basically replaced Pop Idol) second single was a cover, but I really liked it. It's sort of a ballad, but it's also bouncy, which helps it stand out. That bounce is what's missing from the Bryan Rice version, which is why I think I'd have to give Shayne the edge here. Yes, Bryan's version has that point where the song almost stops and then picks up the pace, like Shayne's does, but it lacks some of the backing instrumentation that gives Shayne's version that extra edge and energy. It's a good song whoever does it, though.

Not Enough (Alexander Klaws version)
Not Enough (Bryan Rice version)
Alexander Klaws won Germany's version of Pop Idol and, when I was listening to his third album, I realized this song sounded familiar; I eventually realized Bryan Rice had also sung this song. It's mid-tempo. Alexander brings some (though not a bunch, luckily) of his third album shoutiness to the song, as well as a bit more of a backing beat and "edge" (comparatively).

In Your Room (Bryan Rice)
I haven't heard any covers of this song. I wouldn't want a megastar to cover it and release it as a single, but I think it could be turned into a decent album track for someone (if people are set on continuing to use Bryan Rice songs, that is, and whoever covers it would probably want to make some changes to it...of course, if artists are going to start releasing covers, I can think of some more upbeat songs I'd probably prefer to have covered first). It's a midtempo song that feels sort of balladish, but I think it might be my second favorite song on Bryan's album.

If you're looking for Bryan Rice songs besides these, I'd probably recommend "Confessional" and "Can't Say I'm Sorry" (which has a piano part that reminds me of something you'd hear in a Gavin DeGraw song and might someday make an appearance on this blog, since I feel I sort of cheated Bryan by posting covers-related songs instead of his best songs, though many of those covers or covered songs are his best).

You can buy Bryan Rice's album, Confessional, here (physical; you'll have to search for "Bryan Rice") or here (digital); Amanda Stott's second album, Chasing the Sky, here (physical) or here (digital; only valid for US residents); Shayne Ward's album, Shayne Ward, here (physical) or here (digital); and Alexander Klaws's third album, Attention!, here (physical) or here (digital; you'll have to search for "Alexander Klaws").

Next up: to counterract the slower pace of today's songs, probably a couple of fun dancier songs (though, if you read Popjustice, you've probably heard them before).


Paul said...

back in feb/march someone sent me his version of No Promises and i had no idea that Shayney (LOVE HIM) was going to cover i kinda ignored it, then found out the title of shaynes second single and loved it. I am so fickle... this guy - like shayne - needs a hot funk injection. i fear without it, shayne will go the way of steve brookstein. weird how i turn a post about Bryan Rice (worst pop star name since david sneddon) into a rant about the mismanagement of shaynes career :)
Spooky - my word verification is XOBLOG!!!

Poster Girl said...

What can I say? I totally agree. I really did love Shayne's cover of "No Promises," but he (and, as you point out, Bryan) should definitely do some more uptempo stuff. If Darren can put out two great albums in a year, there must be good dancey/funky pop songs floating around out there--someone just needs to snatch them up and give them to Shayne.

That word verification must be some kind of sign! ...of what, though, I'm not sure, unless you're going to see XO soon ;)

Daimn said...

Shayne Ward's version of "No Promises" was brilliant!! one of the best songs I've heard lately.