By Slick Nick
There is an Olly Murs in every school, every university and every office in the UK; a tiresome, annoying self-centered twat who you dare not get on the wrong side of for fear of being socially ostracised. By no means evil or unpleasant, they can never the less make life hell in so many other ways.
Despite being average-looking, having nothing of interest to say and wearing unremarkable highstreet clothing, they somehow draw people to them like moths to light. Resisting the light will prove controversial, since every conversation or gathering will revolve around this individual, effectively a conversational blackhole, sucking all matter into it that may be even slightly interesting in favour of what the Murs figure may be doing or not doing.
Thanks to Simon Cowell, one of these cheeky chappies was given a record deal, which meant even escaping into a car and puting the radio on presented a confrontation with the mundanity of their existence. The result is ‘Olly Murs’, an album featuring the best part of an hour’s worth of crap music.
Murs came second to Joe McElderry in 2009’s X Factor, arguably the shittest winner in the show’s history, and that’s saying something. This album is described as his ‘debut’, but that suggests a long discography is to follow. I really think, and hope, that this album alone will span Murs’ entire recording history, for the sake of pop music.
Upon first listen, the one thing that stands out alongside the staggering mediocrity is how tonally uneven the material is. It lurches from anthemy pop, to raggae, to sappy ballads. It’s like if a Leona Lewis song suddenly dropped in a thrashy guitar solo.
Looking at the chart positions of the four singles from this illustrates perfectly how fickle the British single-buying public are, and also what a missfire it was on Cowell’s part for launching Murs as a recording artist. Single one was a UK number one. Single four didn’t even make the top 40.
Cunt: Murs glimpses his net worth as a musician in 2011
Hit single ‘Please Don’t Let Me Go’ begins with an old radio effect, which is quite creative for a SYCO release, before stumbling into very dated-sounding raggae pop. I remember Murs being described by Cowell as ‘unbeleivably current’ at his first audition. True – nothing says 2011 like aping the chart music of 1993. It’s not quite as forgettable as the rest of the album but is no Aswad.
Follow-up ‘Thinking Of Me’ is more of the same, but worse.
Murs has a stab at warbling during the closing moments of ‘Heart On My Sleeve’, where things get a bit more serious. It reminds me of the modern Take That. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the army of song-writers and producers that worked on Murs’ atrocity had also spent time in the studio with Robbie and Gary et al. Speaking of the legendary boyband, there was also some serious bro love going down between Murs and Robbie Williams at the time of the X Factor live finals, which saw the two irritants perform an extremely mediocre duet together. This probably carefully spun PR between the managers of Murs and Williams stopped just short of the two sucking each other off on stage, but I digress.
Lyrically, the album sinks to a new low with ‘Busy’. Reminiscent of Bruno Mars, it uses the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ chord progression, as does ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’. Considering the album had 20-30 people contributing to the music, it’s unacceptable to use this riff on two songs from the same album. It really bugs me how often these chords are used, in pop and rock, and is just illustrative of unoriginal, lazy song-writing. Unsurprisingly, both of the efforts on this album are terrible.
Hold onto your sides: This illustrates visually the points made in paragraphs 1 and 2
Surrounding the four singles, which never get better than way below mediocre, is a lot of filler fluff that barely registers. It’s certainly not worth writing about, apart from noting that Murs as a singer leaves a hell of a lot to be desired.
Finally, the whole Murs persona on television and in the media really winds me up. There is an air of undeserved smugness about him, as if he has always been fully aware that he has fuck all to offer the world of popular music and is completely talentless. I hope everyone involved with his album, from Cowell to the song-writers, to the producers, even down to the intern that did the photocopying for marketing, are thoroughly ashamed of themselves.