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My Paper Made Men is the 2nd Studio album by Amy Studt, released digitally in 2008, featuring 10 new tracks.
The cover is a very stylish and personal design. I really like the two almost paper cut men as a frame for Amy Studt. The window effect works well. The simple orange background is also successful as it does not overcomplicate the design, or draw focus away.
As a second album, she got the cover art spot on!
1. Sad, Sad World
The album starts with a rather "interesting" song. The intro sounds as if it will be a typical Amy song, sounding similar to her previous album hits, but it breaks the mould as the singing and tune is very special. There is an awkwardness in the song, which works very well, almost like a tainted world.
There is a sad undertone, yet has uplifting elements. This song is very unique and does not conform to generics, which make this song memerable, and just by hearing the name, you can hear the song. I must admit that songs like this are very difficult to just "latch on to" immediately, but after listening to it again and again, you will GET it...
Although I was slightly bemused by the middle (coda?) where it goes all quiet and Amy is reduced to whispers. This was haunting but the repetition of the intro after was slightly confusing as well...
2. She Ran
This second song I feel is the closest Amy gets to a pop rock genre, and sounds alot like songs from her previous album, Misfit. This is a nice transition, as a second track, so we are not immediately thrown into this new style.
I really like the lyrics, and the song as a whole. Whilst the song conforms more to general song techniques there is an element of uniqueness, and this more upbeat song has a serious undertone which makes it NOT just pop which gets forgotten a week later.
This is perhaps one of my favourite songs.
Furniture has a dark undertone, but again, is a lyrical masterpiece. I love the lyrics, and the dark tones, the tune, it is just mastered well. Originally I thought it was a bit depressing, but there is just so much meaning.
This song is also NOT easy to get into, but the chorus is just phenomenal. Again, this is one of the better tracks.
4. She walks Beautiful
Another slightly more upbeat track. This is one of my favourites as well due to the message in the song. From the first verse it draws you in easily and the change in tempo and tone makes this song powerful.
This song also allows Amy to show off her vocals, and they are great vocals which get underappreciated.
5. One Last Cigarette
I didn't really like this song when I first heard it, and even rated it 2 stars on my Windows Media Player. However, since listening to it recently again, it makes much more sense, and even just rating the lyrics it gets atleast a 4 star.
The song is slightly eerie, and gives an imagery of loneliness and again has a dark tone. However, there is a timeless quality about it, which gives it a potential to be a classic.
6. Nice Boys
On the surface, this song may just be another pop song... but it means so much more. The message of the song, the difference in message... this is one of my favourites again.
The quick tempo and upbeatness, whilst is fantastic as a pop song, is not what this song is about. I love that the messages are almost hiding in this tune, and you really have to listen to it to understand.
7. Walking Out
This song is easily forgotten. I personally can't think what this song is like just by looking at the name and have to hear it. But it has an addictive quality about it as well, whilst the chorus is somewhat ghostly and eerie.
The song overall is good, its not great. 4*
8. Chasing The Light
Another one of my favourites, as it has a powerful chorus! There are dark undertones hidden in the upbeat-ness of the song. The change of tone and tempo, again, like She Walks Beautiful, is a common technique used in this album, and works VERY well.
It is not SHOUTY at any point, and it is subtle which makes this a very enjoyable song.
9. Paper Made Men
Placing the album title song 9th on the tracklist says something. I personally found this really dark and slightly gruesome lyric wise but the messages, once you understand it, relieve the song of its "voodoo" quality. Once I got to this state, I found this song SO enjoyable, and has become one of my favourites.
10. Here Lies More
I also forget this track, and can't picture what its like until hearing it. It has a soft intro, and continues through as a soft song, but again has a powerful chorus. This soft finish is a fantastic touch to the whole album.
The eerie quality carries through in this song through the echoes, which provides consistancy. This song isn't one of my favourites but its good.
This album can be bought on Amazon for under £10.
I was a big fan of Amy Studt after her singles "Under the thumb" and "Misfit" from her first album, and upon hearing the release of this album decided to try it, expecting pop rock tracks... boy was I disappointed. Upon first listening to it, I found the songs too depressing, and the dark tones just weren't me. Some songs "She walks Beautiful" and "Chasing the Light" were just bearable and were played no more than 40 times when I gave up whilst some tracks didn't even get past the 3 mark.
After reading the other review of My Paper Made Men on here, I decided to give it a second go, and I really like it. "My Paper Made Men" is a big transition from Amy's youth and contains many serious messages. Most of her songs sound personal, and the lyrics are written extremely well. Whilst some of the tunes or melody of the songs sound awkward it all works well, and is consistant.
Amy has a great voice and the lyrics in these songs are phenomenal, yet somehow people don't seem to know her and she is underappreciated and underrated.
The whole album has a slightly dark and satyrical feel about it, whilst some more upbeat songs merged in allow for a smoother transition from the old Amy to the new.
This album ISN'T for everyone, and for those used to the "old Amy" may find this too much to bear. But I do ask you to give her a second chance like I did, and you might just like it.
Name: My Paper Made Men
Released: May 2008 (CD Version March 2009)
Chart Position: Uncharted
Singles: Furniture: Uncharted, Chasing the Light: #277, Nice Boys: Uncharted
1. Sad, Sad World
2. She Ran
4. She Walks Beautiful
5. One Last Cigarette
6. Nice Boys
7. Walking Out
8. Chasing the Light
9. Paper Made Men
10. Here Lies Love
11. The Lucky Ones
12. Foolish Heart
Standing in the shadows of commercial pop, Amy Studt has always been a misfit to fame. After her debut album False Smiles turned platinum, Polydor (her record company) stating 'low record sales' dropped her. Fast forward to 2008, now older, more wiser and with an aroma of maturity, Studt releases her second album, My Paper Made Men (re-released as a physical CD in 2009), but does it capture the attention of today's audiences or does it simply fall short of her more successful contemporaries?
Well for starters a firm fence has been built with Studt standing as far from it as possible as the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Girls Aloud dance on top of the predictable pop structure that plagues today's charts with a fake stench. My Paper Made Men almost creates a style of its own, with alternate moods mixed in with a little Indie perhaps for good measure. First single Furniture is a fantastic example of this with its slow beat and more or less innocent nature, but with a heavy dose of mellow themes dominating the lyrics.
Imagery is thrown into the song from all angles likening her feelings from a past relationship turned bad as she feels like an object, an item of abuse for men to use at their will. Paper Made Man is another fitting example of Studt's heavy use of imagery, this time however more feisty, more resentful with girl power tossed in to boot. It flows along with an echoed beat like a reading of a spell resonating with the sort of witchcraft theme.
Musically, My Paper Made Men offers something different with each track. Gentle piano sounds begin She Ran before erupting into a full orchestral crescendo at the chorus that only enhances Studt's dark angel voice. Second single, Chasing The Light touches on an almost rock element with heavy use of loud drums and elongated lyrics to give it a forced sound, but one that works surprisingly well.
The only thing really worrying about this entire album is the fact that it lacks any element of commercial success; maybe flying too far from that fence does have grave consequences. This album won't be for everyone and so it runs the risk of slipping by unnoticed. Here Lies Love is gentle with its beautiful piano tune that gels wonderfully with the romantic lyrics that sound excitingly tragic. However, even though it is highly original and sounds absolutely mesmerizing, the song erupts into a stanza of Latin - as far from the dance tunes that everyone buys nowadays.
Third single Nice Boys perhaps is the closest thing Studt gets at attempting pop with its addictive, playful rhythm. However unlike the chart toppers Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson who unleash boy bashing as an art form, Studt uses her intellect to come up with something more subtle, more sarcastic and without a doubt more effective. Yet you can't help but notice that it does sound a tad bit different, and because it is crafty in its lyrical meaning, many people simply won't catch on or see the appeal and therefore move on.
Vocally, Studt perfects every song on the track list, but She Walks Beautiful perhaps stands out for its emotive chorus. She reaches a nice range throughout the entire song, but brings the complete melody to life by singing with a believable conviction that doesn't come across false nor does it sound too over the top. At the far end of the spectrum One Last Cigarette shows another incredibly diverse trait to Studt's voice with its mellow violin tune sung with style straight from the black and white Noir films that were popular in the 1940's and 50's.
Lyrically things haven't really changed much from previous album False Smiles, rather just more effective in thematic approach. Bullying, betrayal, lonliness and dying love all play a part here and though the disposition is very different, the singing more powerful and general production extremely more cohesive, at the core of it, things haven't really evolved much from the hits Just A Little Girl, Misfit and Under The Thumb. Track seven, Walking Out emits similarities from various tracks from False Smiles.
One vital difference however is that with the exception of Sad, Sad World all songs play such an important role in making My Paper Made Men, my personal favourite album of recent years; something False Smiles eluded to do with numerous average additions. She most certainly is not just a little girl anymore. Sad, Sad World though cunningly written it sounds very out of place and tremendously uncontrolled that could be perceived as inexperience. On a plus note though, every song on here is written by Studt herself which shows that she does in fact have the maturity and talent to write her own lyrics and conduct things the way she wants them to be. Manufactured I think not!
Originally released as a ten track album, two bonus songs are available on with the 2009 re-release. Exclusively obtainable from the download release only Foolish Heart takes swipes at heartbreak that stings a chord with its sassy, self deprecating chorus. An absolute delight. Available only on the CD version, The Lucky Ones is a wonderful out of this world experience that would belong flawlessly on stage, with its heartbreaking lyrics that hurls metaphors out of the box very ingeniously all building to goose bump feeling as the song comes to a close.
Its Sod's Law really that a fantastic album such as this would miraculously linger in the shadows never really getting the number of sales it most certainly deserves. Amy Studt really does justify herself as British talent personified that sings out with emotion, fervour and at just the right moment, sincerity. In my opinion, never has an album stood out at mixing themes to a high standard with great music that sounds very real rather than pompous beats relying on heavy bass, wrapping itself up and calling itself influential music. This wont be everyone's cup of tea, you cant dance to it and its far from being classed a happy music, but it does touch on the very realistic issues that most of us like to cover up and shove in the closet. Tragically a brilliant album that unfortunately time will forget.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sad Sad World
2 She Ran
4 She Walks Beautiful
5 One Last Cigarette
6 Nice Boys
7 Walking Out
8 Chasing The Light
9 Paper Made Man
10 Here Lies Love