Newest Review: ... that from Rhydian. I like that Rhydian doesn't bombard us with the operatic stye of his voice here but actually holds back and is quite whi... more
What a Voice!
Rhydian - Rhydian
Member Name: cyberem78
Rhydian - Rhydian
Date: 20/03/10, updated on 20/03/10 (72 review reads)
Advantages: Great voice, moving songs.
Disadvantages: It's quite serious and possibly overly religious.
Rhydian Roberts was a contestant in the 2007 UK X-Factor and this is his debut album which he released after coming second in the competition. Rhydian performed all manner of songs on the X-factor but his more outlandish choices (ie. Pet Shop Boys' 'Go West' or Pink's 'Get The Party Started') don't appear on this album. It's a tad disappointing that the quirkiness I loved in the white haired Welsh boy has been cast aside to make way for the more obvious, sensible song choices. There isn't any track on this album that I'm suprised to see or that I wouldn't expect artists like Rhydian or Aled Jones or Russell Watson to cover. It's definately a big move away from the hype and circus of the X-factor though. It's an album that sees Rhydian incoporate his strong religious faith this into his musical choices.
'Impossible Dream' is the perfect song for Rhydian as his voice can be tender as well as tough and the lyrics in this song demand both of an artist. The beginning of the song is tinged with romance and sadness whilst the latter half of the song is performed in the traditional style like it is originally in the musical 'Man Of La Mancha' with more pomp and bravado. Being slightly obsessed with the original musical I've heard this song done a thousand times by various artists and this is one of the best renditions I've heard. When I hear this I like to believe that the artist is really feeling and interpreting the words as a Don Quixote style character and I do feel that from Rhydian. I like that Rhydian doesn't bombard us with the operatic stye of his voice here but actually holds back and is quite whispery and soft at moments. The choir add-on at the end isn't needed but heaps on the drama and the overall piece is very moving and breathtaking.
'To Where You Are' is a beautiful song made famous by Josh Groban. I would say it's a little more gentle than Groban's version but that this gentler style gives it a sweetness and softness that is appropriate considering the flowery lyrics. It's a romantic piece and there is a lot of vulnerability in Rhydian's voice that helps to convey the meaning of the words. A great track that when you listen to it you could never imagine someone with a voice like ever needed the X-factor to promote themselves.
'What If' is performed as a duet with a female singer, Idina Menzel, who Rhydian refers to as 'stunning'. I love that Rhydian's natural accent comes through on this track as this personal touch makes it feels like more of a credible love song. Menzel has a strong voice with a slightly annoying American twang. Her voice has a toughness, modern and almost streetwise quality to it that contrasts with Rhydian's voice which seems to be that of a rather fragile, thoughtful and spiritual man. It's an interesting dichotomy that works well.
'The Prayer' is a more austere number and Rhydian's voice is deeper and darker with a more mature, paternal style. The style reminds me of Colm Wilkinson from Les Miserables. The lyrics are hopeful and talk of 'mended hearts' and an end to suffering through God's influence but it's a rather heavy going song and is more heartbreaking than celebratory. The latter half of the song is brought to life by a fabulous gospel choir.
Rhydian's version of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is touching and emotional and although this is another song that's been covered many times by other artists I must say that this version offered me something new, something that made me appreciate the song anew. I love the forcefulness in the voice especially singing the refrain at the end of the track. Go Rhydian!
'There Will Be A Time' is a song I'd never heard before. The lyrics have religious and spiritual qualities and like 'The Prayer' it is like a call for worldwide peace and love. These sentiments are certainly moving and the gentle instrumentals and hopeful expressions in the voice are perfectly executed. Rhydian hits a high note in this song that is quite stunning to hear!
'Somewhere' from West Side Story is performed with a kind of sadness and Rhydian captures the sense of dreamy ambition in his performance that is referred to in the lyrics. The children's choir at the chorus near the end changes the whole meaning and approach of the song though, turning it into another prayer for mankind rather than a romantic love song. A different version of the song, to be sure, but a tad corny.
'Not A Dry Eye In The House' was originally performed by Meat Loaf and when Rhydian sings this I really get a sense that he is either copying Loaf's style or can't help sounding like him because this song is typically a Meat Loaf number. I am not convinced by Rhydian's handling of the lyrics here - he seems to be forcing it a little bit, playing at karaoke almost.
'I Believe' is another track that allows Rhydian to merge music and faith. This song has a beautiful, almost lullabuy style melody and that is lost a little bit here. Instead Rhydian plays it so hard and sings so ardently that this song comes off like something that might be performed at a big church event. It's a little over the top for me.
'I'm Coming Home Again' sounds a little like the theme tune music from 'Braveheart' as it uses panpipe music to create that sense of yesterday. The music conjures up Celtic ghosts and inspires imagery of misty mountains and lakes. It's a great, spiritually rousing track.
'Who Wants To Live Forever' sounds more modern and theatrical compared to the other tracks on the album. I like the drama in the music and although it's performed in typical Rhydian style the song never totally loses it's rock roots with electric guitars bursting into life near the end of the song in addition to the dangerous James Bond style piano music and the slick, attitude-laden drums. The voice is at it's best here - totally authentic, strong and able to convey the emotion in the lyrics.
Overall this is a brilliant debut album by a valid artist and one that I'm glad I bought as it is a pleasure to listen to. If you are one of these people who turn their nose up at the X-factor machine, try listening to this and you may be surprised.
Summary: A brilliant debut album worth having in your collection.