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The curse of the "difficult second album" is such a cliché in music that it's not funny any more. But when your debut album is the fourth best selling album of 2008 worldwide, wins a Grammy award and reaches the Top 10 in 24 different countries (and Top 3 in 19 of those 24), then it's always going to be a hard thing to follow. Sadly, despite all the rave reviews and huge sales that "Rockferry" earned Duffy, the cliché has come home to roost once more.
Unusually, the album opens with a crowd noise which at first fools you into thinking it's a live recording. "My Boy" is a jaunty little upbeat tune, with a driving synthesised bass line that gives it a good beat for listening to as you walk, as I frequently do. Sadly, Duffy's weak, reedy voice lets it down slightly and all the synthesiser usage gives the song a pop feel quite reminiscent of Little Boots. It's not a bad way to open an album, but it's not particularly special and there's nothing here that makes the song stand out in any way, apart from the faux-live feel of the intro.
The string intro to "Too Hurt to Dance" evokes the great 1960s balladeers that Duffy is so frequently compared to. Sadly, it's only the music that evokes this, as Duffy's voice isn't strong enough to compare to the likes of Dusty Springfield, where many of the comparisons lead. Interestingly, this does sound as if it would be the perfect way to have ended a high school dance back in 1962 and I would love to hear it performed by a better singer, as it has the potential to be a decent song.
"Keeping My Baby" seems to work along similar thematic lines to Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach". It's an apt comparison, with the heavy synthesiser use evoking 1980s pop music and because much like Madonna, who I have never rated all that highly, Duffy's voice isn't really all that good. What also doesn't help is that the influences on the album thus far seem to be jumping from decade to decade with no obvious theme and very little quality.
The horn arrangement on "Well, Well, Well", the album's lead single and the opening vocal brings to mind something that Lulu might have done, although the seeming switch to a more modern pop sound at various points just makes the song a little bit of a mess. The overall effect with the combination of eras makes me think that you could have something similar if Lulu woke up one day with a very nasty head cold and decided to try and cover the Sugababes "Here Come the Girls". Given that the lead single on the album is usually the one that attempts to encourage people to buy, it's no wonder that the public have failed to buy in their droves with this as an album taster.
The piano intro to "Don't Forsake Me" and the piano backbeat underlying the whole song vaguely reminds me of a Beatles song, although I can't remember which one. Similarly to "Too Hurt to Dance" this is a sting laden 1960s sounding pop ballad, once again let down by vocals that seem to be straining around the edges. Musically, this isn't as strong as that earlier track and parts of the vocals do get particularly annoying. The only reason this song sticks out for me in any way is because the lyrics do remind me of a personal situation I'm going through at the moment, but unless you're experiencing the same, this track is going to be entirely forgettable.
The title track is up next and unusually for the album has an acoustic guitar intro. "Endlessly" starts by sounding like Duffy's attempt to emulate Amy Winehouse, but once the strings come in, it's back to the weak version of a 1960s pop ballad again. Much like the previous track, there is really nothing to make this song memorable, as there's little variation in the tempo or the vocal, both of which are once again fairly weak.
"Breath Away" sticks to a familiar theme, but fortunately is saved by the music behind it. Much like "Too Hurt to Dance", I would love to hear this song performed by a better singer as it has the potential to be a decent 1960s sounding pop ballad, but is let down by a weak vocal. Once again, it sounds like the kind of song you'd hear playing in a 1960s film, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, had it been performed better.
After so many weak 1960s pop imitations, the intro to "Breath Away" comes as a major shock. "Lovestruck" brings the sound of the album right up to date, with the pop beat giving the song more of a club-pop feel and evoking the likes of Little Boots again. Of course, the problem with this is that Little Boots was a cut price version of Lady Gaga and Duffy is a weak version of Little Boots, so you can imagine the quality of the track. It's different from the norm of the album, but really no different to much that is currently available and would stand out only when the album is played as a whole, not if the song were played surrounded by other pop acts on the radio or TV music channels.
"Girl" is a partial return to the norm for the album, as it's definitely a 1960s pop influenced track, but it's at a higher tempo and a jauntier beat than the likes of "Don't Forsake Me". The lyrical themes as well as the music are also typical of the 1960s sound and this is the kind of song I can picture playing over one of the Austin Powers films, as it would have fitted in perfectly. Sadly, the album has generally been so weak that to call this song one of my favourites from the album is to damn it with faint praise. Which, to be fair, is probably all it truly deserves.
"Hard for the Heart" is the ideal closure to the album, as it sums up what has gone before rather nicely. The 1960s influence is here, although it's a slightly higher tempo than many of the songs on the album. As with so many of the songs in the preceding half an hour, the vocals are what really let the song down, actually seeming to be drowned out by the strings for much of the song, which is something that hasn't happened for much of the album, but given the vocal quality, probably should have done. Appropriately, it's a weak end to a weak album.
The album only has a run time of around 33 minutes. Usually when an album finishes so quickly, I would deride the appalling value for money, but the fact that Duffy's "Endlessly" is far from being endless is actually a plus point in my book, as it puts the listener out of their misery that much sooner. It's an album that does have some potential hidden deep inside it, but when I put a CD on, I'm hoping to hear some decent music rather than some decent potential.
It's often the mark of how poor an album is as to how quickly it appears very cheaply on eBay with consumers desperate to get it out of their collections. After only two weeks of release, several copies are available for £1.99 including postage, which speaks volumes. Even so, it's such a weak album it's barely worth the price. For a new copy, the pricing is even more optimistic, with Amazon offering the album for £6.99; Sainsbury's asking £7.99 and HMV wanting £8.99. Given that the best tracks sound like weak Dusty Springfield imitations, you're far better paying Amazon £2.99 for Dusty's "Hits Collection" and at least having something decent to listen to, as well as saving money.
I have always liked Duffy's music, although to me she has always been a 'in the background' kind of artist, unlike Rihanna and Cheryl Cole. I loved her singles 'Rain On Your Parade' and 'Mercy' and so when I heard that she would be a releasing a new album, I couldn't wait to get a copy.
Endlessly is the second album from welsh singer Duffy. The album was released in 2010 and is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £6.99 which I think is great value for money considering that the album was only released a few weeks ago.
1)My Boy 2)Too Hurt To Dance 3)Keeping My Baby 4)Well Well Well 5)Don't Forsake Me 6)Endlessly 7)Breath Away 8)Love Struk 9)Girl 10)Hard For The Heart 11) Endlessly Weblink
Normally it takes me a while until I 'get' an album, but this album was different. I instantly 'got' it, and fell it love with it! One of the main things which stands out for me is how cheery this album is. It certainly puts you in a good mood. Her last album 'Rockferry' did take me a while to get used to, although after I while I absolutely love it. Her last album was was more 'emotional' as it contained a lot of ballads ; this is the total opposite and is an instant pick me up.
Duffy has such a unique voice ; It is the kind of voice which I love to hate, and even though sometimes I think 'argh!! she has a terrible voice', I can't help but like it at the same t ime.I havn't heard anyone sing like her before, and so I think that is one of the main reasons why she such a success. I can't help notice that has a more mature sound on here, and I think that her voice has really improved since the last album. I think that the more upbeat songs on this album really suit her voice. I love the fact that she can actually sing and obviously doesn't have to rely on the use of 'special effects' to make her sound as good as she is.
This is wonderful album with some great songs. For me, the songs which stand out the most are Keeping My Baby and Well Well Well. There is something to suit all moods on here, althought the majority of songs are upbeat which makes a nice change! It's certainly an album which will put you in a good mood!
I like the fact that she has taken her time with this album (two whole years in fact) as it seems that she genuinely wanted to make a good album rather than the likes of Rihanna and Cheryl Cole (who I love!) who just seem to bring out album after album! This has definately been worth the wait!
Thanks for reading!
December 9th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
Return of the nation's highest pitched songstress...
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Aimée Ann Duffy (known simply to the musical world as 'Duffy') is a Welsh singer / songwriter who received critical acclaim for her Grammy winning 2008 album 'Rockferry'. Duffy has been described as the Marmite of the musical world, due to the fact that her distinctive high-pitched vocals make her a figure who seems to be both loved and hated in equal measure. Personally, I would describe myself as someone who is closer to the disliking end of the scale - although if you take Duffy's voice out of the equation, I've always appreciated the structure and heartfelt nature of her songs. Undoubtedly talented in her own right, Duffy is frequently compared to Dusty Springfield, Lulu, and Amy Winehouse. Personally, I've always felt that the Amy Winehouse comparison was a little lame - yes, Winehouse arguably paved the way for Duffy's retro and soulful sound to come back into the limelight, but vocally the two artists are very different. It was recently noted that Duffy is keen to shake off the comparisons - but does her new album 'Endlessly' have what it takes to entertain the masses as much as the uber-successful Rockferry did?
THE SONGS - thirty-three minutes of music
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First track 'My Boy' opens with a short section of rapturous applause combined with a trebelo-laden 60's sounding organ. An unusually high-hat-heavy beat cuts through the retro vibe to produce a hip-hop infused sound before the vocals arrive. The song is fairly laid back and creative - in hindsight it's actually one of the more original sounding tracks on the album, providing an effective and solid opening - "Where's the blame, where's the shame? We're just two hearts come together, what's your problem?". Following My Boy is the first of Endlessly's ballads in the form of 'Too Hurt to Dance' - this orchestral backed number slows the album's pace considerably, and demonstrates the reason why Duffy receives the frequent Dusty comparisons. I would argue that this style of song suits Duffy's voice more than the upbeat tracks - here, she's toned down and not given the opportunity to demonstrate the Alvin and the Chipmunks style of warbling that she's become associated with. That said, the some words are sung with an overcomplicated with a rather forced wavering vibrato which isn't necessary - "I was in the shadows of a place we used to go, drinking Cocktail after Cocktail, Wondering if you'd show".
Continuing the retro vibe, 'Keeping My Baby' brings forth a regressive disco beat which feels a little too manufactured for my liking - it's all a bit unsubstantial and not especially memorable. 'Bland' is probably the word i'm searching for, although the horn section brings about a much needed element of funkiness to the equation. The vocals are fairly reminiscent of Kylie Minogue - rather nasal and not particularly substantial - "Its too late, can't you see the need in me... I'm keeping my baby". The less said about fourth track 'Well, Well, Well' the better - this incredibly annoying song is Endlessly's first single release, and it's all I've been hearing on TV and radio over the last few weeks. 'overplayed' is the phrase which springs to mind! Here Duffy's vocals are simply awful - ear-piercing and akin to listening to someone running their fingernails down a black board - grrrr. Yes, it's a livelier offering than the majority of the other songs on the album, and the backing track (provided by The Roots) is pretty funky - but overall the song feels rather cheap and doesn't have any real flow to it; "I'm not that cagey, but I don't need to explain, there's nothing to blame".
Bringing things back down to earth, the slowest track on the album 'Don't Foresake Me' relies on a strong chorus to bring some much needed quality to an altogether predictable verse. It's a pretty song which reminds me of Simply Red's sound in places. Like a number of the other songs on the album, a string section is frequently used to good effect, and lyrically the track seems carefully crafted - by no means a bad effort - "All the memories, nothing I could sing, I've learned so many things, but the bitterness remains". The album's title track 'Endlessly' begins with a gimmicky addition which I find a little annoying in the modern pop song... a fake vinyl crackle. I appreciate the carefully picked guitar during the verse in the second half of the song, and complementing it, brief snippets of an Italian sounding strummed guitar work well. The end result is probably the best ballad on the album - "Endlessly, I'm counting down the days, when you will come my way... Endlessly".
Not to be confused with Berlin's 'Take my breath Away', the acoustically driven 'Breath Away' is another of Endlessly's balledic numbers - and it's a prime vehicle for Duffy to show a vocal restraint which undoubtedly works in her favour. That said, the all too common vibrato ugliness rears its head, and this slightly marrs an otherwise decent effort. The song as a whole needs to be heard a few times before it's fully appreciated, and on reflection it seems like one of the more heartfelt tracks - "Child's play, I was silly with your heart that day, I enjoyed tearing you apart, Now it's me who cries". Arguably the most contemporary sounding song on Endlessly, eighth track 'Lovestruck' opens with a Britney-style spoken opening. A synth bass swell continues the modern sound whilst an interesting string run-down to the chorus creates an amount of aural intrigue. This undoubtedly works to the song's favour, and all-in-all it's a bit different and unexpected. It's certainly a catchy piece of pop music which provides a break from the slightly monotonous 60's replica numbers - "Suddenly it hit me like, like lightening between the eyes, It's a really good thing we've got, like i'm in paradise".
The disco crossover track 'Girl' is superbly annoying - although whether in a good way or a bad way, I haven't yet decided. If a song's success is its ability to get stuck in the listener's head, then Girl definitely succeeds. That said, it's a track which I certainly wouldn't want to listen to any more than once! This nostalgically fluffy piece of songwriting sounds like something which was rejected from the Austin Powers soundtrack; it's a lot of fun, but not really my cup of tea - "You better cut out... girl, keep away from him... girl, you're trying to steal my guy... girl". Closing track 'Hard For The Heart' begins with a Motown infused string section, setting up the vocals perfectly. Here, Duffy's voice is more palatable than it has been at any other point on the album - toned down and controlled... just how I like it. The chorus is ultimately very Coldplay in structure - especially the "hard for the heart" phrasing at the chorus' end - "I'm looking for safety, what's it all about? for somebody to tell me, take away this vow".
FINAL WORD - A 'Duff'inative collection of songs (sorry...), or simply Duff?
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Endlessly *isn't* a flowing album - it jerks around from ballad to poppy number without much subtlety. This perhaps wouldn't be a problem were the tracks of consistent quality - but they aren't. The end result is catalogue of unoriginal 60's / Northern Soul replicas which are of mixed quality. So what's the reason for this inconsistency? - Perhaps it's because Duffy no longer worked with Rockferry co-writer and producer Bernard Butler (instead opting for the tried and tested Albert Hammond Senior), or perhaps it's simply because the pressures to create an album as successful as Rockferry were too great - who knows. For me, Duffy's voice is the final nail in the coffin for the album - and I feel quite harsh for saying this, as the girl is perfectly in tune, AND hits all the high notes; it's just the manner in which she does so which is the problem. This high pitched warble wasn't so noticeable on previous album Rockferry, but here, everything seems to be exaggerated and even more grating than ever. However much I want to award the album one star, there are moments of creativity and spontaneity which drag the work up from dooyoo's lowest rating. It was always going to be difficult to match the quality of Duffy's previous work, but as my Granddad used to say, "it's an effort".
ADDITIONAL INFO - the full track listing
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1. 'My Boy' - 3:27 (my rating 3/5)
2. 'Too Hurt To Dance' : 3:15 (my rating 3/5)
3. 'Keeping My Baby' : 2:49 (my rating 2/5)
4. 'Well, Well, Well' : 2:43 (my rating 1/5)
5. 'Don't Forsake Me' : 4:01 (my rating 3/5)
6. 'Endlessly' : 2:58 (my rating 3/5)
7. 'Breath Away' : 4:12 (my rating 3/5)
8. 'Lovestruck' : 2:52 (my rating 3/5)
9. 'Girl' : 2:26 (my rating 2/5)
10. 'Hard for the Heart' : 4:57 (my rating 3/5)
PRICE & AVAILABILITY - the cost and the purchase options
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Duffy's Endlessly can currently be purchased in CD form for £6.99 from amazon.co.uk, or £7.99 as a digital download from the iTunes store. Individual tracks from the album can also be downloaded from iTunes at a cost of 79p each - so you can buy all of the album except for the terrible 'Well, Well, Well' if you wish! If you're someone who prefers to buy your music from the supermarkets, then Tesco are selling the album for £8.93 which is the same as the ASDA price.
Aimée Ann Duffy had a dream start to her recording career following the release of her debut album "Rockferry2 in 2008. Timed perfectly to capitalise on the throwback retro sound that had been the hallmark of Amy Winehouse's seminal album "Back to Black", Duffy, who eschewed her other names for performing, was hailed the new Dusty Springfield and promptly notched up a number one single and album. The album finished the year as the UK's best selling album, and subsequently won both a Brit award and a Grammy.
Duffy, who was born in 1984 in Gwynedd, has been away from the limelight for over a year, quietly disassociating herself from the musicians and management who worked on her debut album. So gone is song writing partner and co-producer Bernard Butler and gone too is the management deal she had with Jeanette Lee of Rough Trade.
Instead her sophomore effort finds her collaborating with veteran songwriter Albert Hammond Snr (son Albert Jnr plays with the Strokes) whose back catalogue as a writer includes "The Air That I Breathe" and "When I Need You", two particularly successful ballads from the 1970s. As a performer he is probably best remembered for his 1972 hit "It Never Rains in Southern California" which still gets a decent amount of airplay today.
The album was recorded in the space of just three weeks and is a fairly sparse affair with only ten tracks. All songs were co-written and produced by Duffy and Hammond but the question is - has Duffy progressed from the neo white soul sound of her debut and developed - or not?
My first thoughts when I heard this album was that Duffy is keen to move away from "Rockferry" but isn't quite sure how to do it. So the sixties retro sound remains on many of the songs, but there's a slight nod to other genres too.
I must admit at this juncture that I have mixed feelings about Duffy's vocals. I think she definitely has the marmite effect and sometimes I find her vocals to be quite tiresome. In particular she seems to have breathing issues and sometimes her voice is so nasal as to be unbearable - at other times she sounds as if she is singing with a cold - well that's how she sounds to me on "Warwick Avenue" although I must stress this is my favourite song of hers, cold or no cold.
The only thing I believe Duffy shares with Dusty Springfield is the same hair colour - vocally Duffy sounds more like Lulu - but even then only on some of her more uptempo songs. There is a real affectation to Duffy's voice which, I believe, prevents her from connecting fully with an audience. When she isn't so vocally affected, she's actually rather good, and she is an accomplished live singer.
"Rockferry" was a very British album, with nods to the UK female singers who graced the charts in the 60s. Endlessly moves away from this, and you can hear nods towards the American girl groups of that decade here and the influence of 1970s disco music and even a bit of Madonna.
Opening track "My Boy" starts with a faux live sound and makes effective use of a synthesiser. In fact when I first heard this I thought "blimey Duffy hasn't half changed direction". The lyrics however convey the innocence one would expect from early 60s teenpop, being just the wrong side of facile as Duffy sings "age is a number, don't steal my thunder". The song ends with an almost Joe Meek-esque synthesised twirl which reminded me almost immediately of "Telstar" and it was then I realised that Duffy hadn't changed direction at all.
So moving on to "Too Hurt to Dance" you find yourself listening to a song which could have been written and performed fifty years ago. The pizzicato strings which were so evident in late 50s and early 60s teen pop are here, along with perfectly timed strings coming in to tug on those teenage heartstrings. The song is particularly reminiscent of "To Know Him is to Love Him" by the Teddy Bears - which was, of course, Phil Spector's first hit single. Duffy and Hammond really do wear their production inspiration on their sleeves.
Duffy's voice fails to convince on this song too - I do wonder if the problem is she hasn't really suffered for her art in the way Amy Winehouse did for "Back to Black". There's no genuine heartbreak, no soul destroying pain evident in Duffy's work - and this is reiterated in particular on "Don't Forsake Me", which Duffy has claimed in interviews is "the song of my life". The stark production which again harks back to the early sixties, fails to convey the bitterness, the anger and disappointment Duffy refers to in the lyrics and the end result is flat and unconvincing. The choir like backing vocals by Duffy and Hammond are probably the best thing on this.
The title track is probably the most convincing of the ballads as Duffy sings with longing of her search for love. Accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar , it then builds up with clever use of a Hammond organ and a parsimoniously effective string section. I've heard songs like this many times over the years however and do wish Hammond and Duffy could have been a little more original.
Lead single "Well Well Well" hasn't been a huge hit and I have to say vocally this features Duffy's vocals at her worst - sounding like a cut priced karaoke Lulu quacking away in places. This is a shame because the actual arrangement is bang up to date - possibly due to the rhythm section being provided by the Roots. This is a song you can get up and dance to but the vocals are really rather grating, and at the risk of sounding unkind, this would work better for me as an instrumental.
At least the title track has a vaguely contemporary sound however. "Keeping my Baby" is a faux disco song which has a nod at Madonna too - it's "Papa Don't Preach" Mark II really. And, predictably, not a patch on the song it is inspired by and references so blatantly either. I am a huge fan of disco music but even the faux "Sound of Philadelphia" strings doesn't save this from being the sort of thing Kylie Minogue would probably knock back as an album track.
There are only a couple of real saving graces on this album for me. "Girl" is a great little teen pop song which finds Duffy telling her love rival to stay away from her boyfriend. Duffy's lead vocals convey an innocence which works beautifully on this and her backing vocals aren't to be sneered at either. So many of the songs here try to be pastiches of a long gone era but fail due to the fact they just put the listener in mind of far better original songs from those times. "Girl" resists the temptation to do this and as a result is the perfect pastiche.
The track I enjoyed the best was the final one "Hard for the Heart", which features a more muted vocal from Duffy and offers the listener a glimpse of how she sings when she forgets the vocal affectations. The song features clearly audible backing vocals from Albert Hammond at the start - tired, almost forced vocals that chime beautifully with the melancholy, regretful song that Duffy sings. Towards the end both Duffy and Hammond join forces to sing the backing vocals and this is, for me anyway, the best collaboration on the album between them.
If Duffy wanted to follow up Rockferry with a low key return, then she has succeeded with "Endlessly". Thus far she hasn't managed to crack the top 40 with "Well Well Well" and the album itself has just scraped into the top ten.
Although I am not a huge Duffy fan I did enjoy much of "Rockferry" - with hindsight I suspect having listened to "Endlessly" much of that was down to Bernard Butler's involvement however. Butler seems to have captured that 60s British girl singer sound perfectly on "Rockferry" without taking the listener back to another song, whereas Hammond's involvement has resulted in a lot of songs which instantly remind you of something else.
This album also reveals that Duffy isn't a particularly strong writer - lyrically the album is forgettable and in some cases embarrassing, but the melodies aren't particularly memorable either. Similarly she may have a production credit but I remain unconvinced it's one she's going to want featuring prominently on her CV in years to come. The ideas she and Hammond have put into practice on "Endlessly" are derivative and uninspiring.
It's been suggested that Duffy has tried to tap a younger audience with "Endlessly" - it's a well known fact that it's the over 40s who buy albums these days and it's adults who have formed her core fan base, but with the exception of "Well Well Wel"l there's nothing particularly contemporary on here. Perhaps she and Hammond feel the teenager of today will somehow connect with songs which quite blatantly reference songs which appealed to teenagers in the past, whether that be those who loved the Ronettes and the Shangri La's in the 60s or those who idolised Madonna in the 80s.
The problem is when you compare those original songs to those on this album you realise that there is no real sincerity or honesty to be found here and an older listener such as myself will spot the influences immediately and most likely dismiss much of the music as derivative while younger audiences are likely to consider it old fashioned. Duffy does convey a strange kind of innocence in her voice and although she is an undoubtedly very beautiful young woman, she retains a demure girl next door look which is devoid of true sex appeal, and there's nothing vocally to match the fervour and sensuality of Mercy from her debut album to be found here either.
Even the photography on the album artwork is demure - one suspects the idea was to present Duffy as cool or Gallic - in fact I was reminded of a young France Gall when I saw some of the photographs - but the end result is unconvincing - a bit like most of this album which finds Duffy trying to evolve but actually moving backwards creatively and offering nothing which marks any real kind of progression for her. Put simply, this is a disappointment.
Too Hurt to Dance
Keeping My Baby
Well Well Well
Don't Forsake Me
Hard For the Heart
Duffy released her debut album "Rockferry" in 2008, and now two years later, she returns with "Endlessly", which in interviews she claims to reveal her growth yet retains her musical style and character. I admire her integrity to sticking to what she is known for opposed to complying with modern trends.
The album cover is simple and sweet. Definitely not as stylish as her Rockferry cover, but I like the subdued colours and the graphics.
The album contains ten tracks, but is only around 30 minutes in length:
1. My Boy 4/5
The first track on the album is a fun and upbeat track that will catch on very easily. It definitely retains that Duffy sound but is slightly more mainstream. A nice start to the album and perhaps sets the tone for the rest of the tracks.
2. Too Hurt To Dance 4/5
"Too Hurt To Dance" reminds us why we love Duffy. This could very well have been on Rockferry and has that slightly mellow tone and the lyrics definitely contribute to this effect. Nonetheless, this is a great song and another timeless song.
3. Keeping My Baby 4/5
The upbeat intro and the sound of this song has the flair or "Rain on Your Parade", and in some ways sounds quite similar to that too. I like the fun lyrics and the beat of the song- though it is quite a short one, under three minutes long- so it doesn't get much time to develop and it kind of leaves you hanging a bit.
4. Well, Well, Well 4/5
The lead single from this album, "Well Well Well" is dynamic and upbeat, one of the more explosive tracks on the album that showcase Duffy's unique voice. A powerful and addictive track, though at first the "well well wells" may grate on you.
5. Don't Forsake Me 4/5
The verses aren't that impressive but lead onto a fantastic chorus, against a "Warwick Avenue-esque" backing track. This may seem a little like a "filler" track given it doesn't stand out immediately compared to the others, but it holds its ground with the stunning chorus.
6. Endlessly 4/5
The softest track on the album, "Endlessly" is heartfelt and emotional, yet a very romantic song. Whilst it may not be the catchiest or mainstream, the lyrics are superb and it is wowing in this way.
7. Breath Away 5/5
This song is easily my favourite track off the album, as it is somewhere in between the upbeat tracks found in this album and the more mellow tracks from Rockferry. There is perfect balance in this song and it just immediately reaches out to you and gets you hooked.
8. Lovestruck 4.5/5
The most shocking song from the album. The first fifteen seconds or so I thought I was listening to Lady Gaga or something... but this more outrageous turn for Duffy works to her advantage as she makes it her own. This is definitely the most "different" of the album but surprisingly still works.
9. Girl 4/5
Having just heard "Lovestruck", "Girl" is another upbeat track that seems to be a farcry from Duffy's sound. Sounding more like Annie's "I know your Girlfriend hates me", this song may have less substance lyrically, but again, Duffy somehow manages to make this work and is definitely a nice, if surprising change of sound.
10. Hard For The Heart 4/5
The last song of the album brings us back to traditional Duffy. A strong track that remains consistent with the rest, and is a nice mellow end to the album which brings us down from the high of the previous two super upbeat tracks.
SONGS TO LOVE: My Boy, Keeping My Baby, Well Well Well, Breath Away, Lovestruck
SONGS TO SKIP: None
The CD can be purchased in stores and online. Amazon are selling it for £8.93 which is fairly good, though it may be cheaper in supermarkets, or during special promotions. HMV are selling it for £7.99 for one day only.
There is definite development in Duffy's music since her last album, but certain tracks feel like they could've been from the "Rockferry" era. However, they are well distributed and interspersed so you really don't notice it. The synchronisation makes the changes subtle and gives the album variety and consistency.
The whole album is definitely strong, but given only thirty minutes or so of play time, I suppose it isn't difficult to select the BEST songs. Whilst some artists cram their records with tracks, Duffy presents the best of the best. Though no doubt, a deluxe edition with additional tracks is likely to be released shortly? Surely her two years weren't spent making just these ten tracks, so it would definitely be great to hear some more.
"Endlessly" is more like an extension to her previous album. There are some great tracks here and the development is seamless. I am slightly disappointed with the length of this album, though what is on here is all good. The tracks are timeless and has the signature Duffy sound with more variation and fun. Highly recommended.