You can tell just by looking at my profile picture that I have a thing for Matt Cardle. As soon as I heard him sing on the X Factor 2010 I knew that he was something special because I was totally taken by his voice and his charm. Naturally I couldn't wait for his debut album to be released and purchased it for download as I soon as I could.
The debut album was named letters and was released on the 17th October 2011 and charted at number two upon release. It is important to note that this album was produced with Simon Cowells SyCo label as well as Sony and Columbia records and so it was bound to have massive support from those giants within the music industry which is not something that he got when releasing his second album, The Fire in October 2012. Matt Cardle is one of those artists who does want to get down and write music that means something and whilst he was allowed to do this to a certain extent with the Letters album you can tell that it isn't totally "Matt" for want of a better word. Despite this I actually loved the album and I of course went to see the supporting tour which followed in the early months of 2012.
I think this album was seen by many as a bit of a safe choice and possibly not what Matt Cardle himself would have chosen to put out there. This said he was of course lead by Simon Cowell at that point and I think it is fair to say that Cowell was much more interested in and focussing on world domination with One Direction than he was on making sure Matt Cardle could put out an album he was totally happy with! Despite some criticisms the album did receive some really positive comment such as that it was an emotional and heart felt album which featured impressive vocals. I'm sure you can tell which camp I will be in simply because of how big a fan I am of Matt but I hope I am able to do this album justice when I review it because for me it is a really good album which I suspect many people would enjoy if they would see past the X Factor connotations. In actual fact the album was voted "album of the year" by readers of the Guardian in 2011 which goes some way to tell you the quality of it I feel.
Much of the Letters album was co written by Matt Cardle though there are some tracks which are nothing to do with him on there. In contrast to the current album, The Fire, which is all written by or co written by Matt it is clear to see but there is still reason to see Cardle did work hard on this album I think.
There are 13 tracks on the album and I will run through them all individually but hope not to go on too much!
Co written by Matt Cardle this was the second album released from the album. It is quite a fast paced song which talks a bit about how we are quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It isn't one of my favourite tracks from the album because for me it just doesn't sound too much like Matt if I am honest.
==Run for your life (4.05)==
This is the first track that was released from the album and was actually written by Gary Barlow of Take That fame. I actually adore this song despite the fact that is isn't really what I would expect of Matt nowadays. The song is a slow moving one which talks about telling a lover to run for their life because you are just not good enough and they deserve so much more. I think I can empathise with this song and so got it straight from the off. My son is only seven but he really enjoys singing along to this one.
==All for nothing (3.23)==
All for nothing is a slow moving song which is really all about the voice. It is a simple track which is simply begging to keep the ones you love safe and just to bring them home to you each night. "Don't make it all for nothing, this love we made" stands out as a key line and I think there is quite a raw feeling to this song. Despite the rawness it is easy to listen to and one that I enjoy on the album.
==Pull me under (3.40)==
Pull me under was again a track co written by Matt Cardle and I know from seeing the tour that this song was pretty much about just wanting that one person to sweep you off your feet and wondering will you always sort of keep skipping along, never really feeling the true love. This song is a good pace and one which I find quite upbeat! I love to turn it up and sing along and I think it shows Matt's voice well as there are a range of sounds it in.
Amazing was the third track to be released from the album and again it is one that I love. I actually find this track to be quite poppy when it gets going which is possibly why I love it so much. The track is basically about not seeing what somebody could see in you and being down and out and then suddenly being knocked off your feet by somebody amazing. It asks for you to be patient whilst dealing with a heart which has been broken before. I adore the way that Matt sings this one and I think it really shows the softer, raspy side of his voice and I swear I go weak late in the song when he sings "how did you see me?" because he sounds totally hot!
Another slow moving which was co written by Matt. From attending the tour I am aware this song was written about a time when he was cheating on a partner and realising it isn't something that should happen and the emotions involved for everyone involved. "I guess I never realised that the story had three sides" is a key line in this song I think. It is a very easy track to listen to and sing along to and the main focus is on the voice and it shows Matt's perfectly in my opinion.
==Beat of a breaking heart (3.51)==
Another track which was co written by Matt Cardle was beat of a breaking heart. It is quite a haunting song I think and it uses his falsetto voice well I think. It is about pushing the boundaries of a relationship I think and the pain that can be involved when you are involved in a break up. It is a lovely song to listen to actually and one that I like to sing along with as well.
==Stars and lovers (3.39)==
Again co written by Matt this song is in my opinion one of the more poppy tracks on the album and it is certainly one of my favourites. It is a really upbeat song which you cannot help but sing along to when you hear it in my opinion. The chorus is all about being in love I think, the universe being made for us, the stars and the lovers and being together. I really do love this track but my sister likes this one too and she is not known to be a Matt fan so I think it is one of the more "mainstream" tracks on the album.
The title track from the album also has a good pace to it. It is all about making sure that your relationship is honest from the start as it is the only way to see it through. This track makes use of the range in Matt's voice and again is a really enjoyable track to sing along to. This is the song with the most writers involved in it, with five.
A adore this track from the album. It is all about reflecting on a love that you have lost and wishing that you had seized the moment when you had the chance. "Reflections of a wasted love, you don't know what you have until she's given up", "I had to lose you to learn" and other such lines make it a track that really stands out to me and I love to listen to this one when I am feeling reflective myself.
==Walking on water (2.54)==
Walking on water is another strong track in my opinion and this is another with quite a few writers who have worked on it, Matt being one of them. The track starts slowly and quite reflectively talking about being oblivious to a relationship which is basically sinking. It then goes in to a powerful chorus which wonders when the relationship started going under when they were "walking on water for so long".
Slowly is one of my favourite tracks from the album and is all about having someone right under your nose who may well be perfect for you but whom you haven't seen until now because you are too busy looking for someone else. I love to listen to this track and will always sing along to it. Having had relationships with people who used to be friends I can totally relate to this song and I think the track shows off Matt's voice so beautifully.
==When we collide (3.48)==
This was the X Factors winners song and whilst I loved it at first it is actually one of my least favourite tracks on the album simply because I now know how "Un-Matt" it actually is having heard his music on both this album and more so on The Fire album. There is nothing offensive about the track but it just doesn't do it for me anymore really.
Whilst I most definitely prefer The Fire as an album I also think this is a really strong album and there are only a couple of tracks on it which don't really grab my attention like the others. As I said earlier I do think this is an album that many people would enjoy because it is quite a chilled out album which is easy to listen to but which has great meaning when you look deeper in to the songs. Should you be interested in purchasing this album you can get it from amazon for just £5.41 for the disc copy or £4.99 for the mp3 download. I would totally recommend this album at either of those prices and think you would be pleasantly surprised.
Thank you for reading my review!
I don't watch the X Factor anymore. In fact I haven't watched it for a few years now and so whilst I had obviously heard of Matt Cardle, I didn't really know what he was about, until I recently heard some of his songs. For those of you who don't know, Matt Cardle was the winner of last year's (2010) X Factor.
Letters is the debut album from Matt Cardle. It was released in the United Kingdom in October 2011 and so the album is very recent. The CD is currently available for sale from Amazon for a price of £8.00 which I think is fairly good value for money.
~ * Track Listing * ~
1) Starlight 2) Run For Your Life 3) All For Nothing 4) Pull Me Under 5) Amazing 6) Faithless 7) Beat Of A Breaking Heart 8) Stars & Lovers 9) Letters 10) Reflections 11) Walking On Water 12) Slowly 13) When We Collide
~ * What Do You Think? * ~
Not bad! Not bad at all, especially for a debut album. I have to say I am impressed! Before this album, I wasn't really sure what Matt Cardle was all about, however I can now say that I know for certain what he is all about. I am actually a fan now! J
~ * Does He Write His Own Stuff? * ~
Oh yes! He has written the majority of tracks on the album which to me shows that he is a proper musician - much better than previous X Factor winners such as Steve Brookstein and Leon Jackson (I mean, where are they now?). So yeah, full marks for Matt on the song writing front.
~ * Any Songs Which Stand Out? * ~
Run For Your Life - this was the song that made my ears prick up, as it is the debut single from the album. I really like it. Also, this song was written by Gary Barlow...which just means that it is going to be a good song - and it is!
I also like Starlight, All For Nothing and Beat Of A Breaking Heart. A lot of the songs have a guitar background to them, which is nice, as it is real music, compared to a lot of 'electric' and 'computer' sounding songs that you get these days.
~ * Any Songs Which Stand Out For The Wrong Reasons? * ~
Nooo!! There isn't one bad song on the album, which for me says a lot. I do think, however, that a lot of the songs on here are quite similar which means that sometimes I do get a little confused over which song is which. However, they are all likable though J
~ * What About His Voice ? * ~
He has a husky kind of voice. I think that he sounds a lot like James Morrisson, so if you like his voice, then I am sure that you will like Matt's voice.
I would definitely recommend this album.
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Run For Your Life
3 All For Nothing
4 Pull Me Under
7 Beat of a Breaking Heart
8 Stars & Lovers
11 Walking on Water
13 When We Collide