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Sanctuary - Simon Webbe

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    7 Reviews
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      23.07.2012 22:40

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      Great relaxing pop music!

      This album Sanctuary was released by Simon Webbe in 2005 when he turned into a solo artist, from the boy band 'Blue.' Sanctuary was a big hit. The album includes the songs 'Lay Your Hands' and 'No Worries' which were the most popular songs from this pop album. 'Lay Your Hands' is an incredibly cheerful track that will lighten anybody's day. The lyrics to 'Lay Your Hands' are very uplifting, for example when Simon says 'When life is getting you down and close to defeat, come and lay your hands on me.' It is this kind and caring nature that Simon exudes and shows in his album Sanctuary, through his lyrics. His lyrics show that he has a genuinely kind and also laidback and relaxed nature, which fits the album title, Sanctuary. 'No Worries' is also a very uplifiting song, which is obvious from the lyrics at the beginning, which say 'I just know your life's going to change, gonna get a little better' which is a positive message to Simon's fans. There is clear evidence of guitar playing in a lot of Simon's tracks which creates that uplifting but relaxing feel to his music. There is also evidence of drums playing in the background, which really help to create the melody to Simon's songs. Another positive point about Simon's CD is that it is an album for both genders - even though many of his songs are written about true romance. Some of Simon's music sounds a little country, however it is only slightly there and the main genre is pop. 'A Little High' is another one of Simon's uplifting tracks, as he states in the song 'Everybody needs a little high.' This is a brilliant, relaxing, romantic, happy pop album for both genders that I recommend to everybody.

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      14.01.2012 10:50

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      This is one of those albums that you can play and chill out to. It's perfect chill out music!

      I expected this album to be RnB inspired, even though I know that sounds a little stereotypical of me. The album is actually more melodic and breezy. It flows really well and the singles aren't the only stand out tracks. Every track on here shines and most (if not all) of them could have easily been released as a single.

      I dislike comparing artists to other artists as I repect that music is about individuality. However, this album sounds very much in the same league as the Lighthouse Family, which is a good thing. Yes, it may be seen as slow, however it has feeling, it has emotion. Simon has clearly put his all into this album and it's paid off. It doesn't bore me, it doesn't make me want to switch tracks and it doesn't play for too long. The length of the album is just right and for the price (it's averaging at a mere 99p on eBay) it's a bargain.

      I would recommend this album to people who like to listen to chill out music and music that you can "feel" almost. If you like listening to Lemar, Lighthouse Family then I would suggest this album to add to your collection.

      A major step-up from his days in Blue.

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      23.06.2009 21:56
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      A good consistent background album

      This is a big departure from Blue days!

      The track on this disc are more soulful and less poppy. As it is a solo album it is a different sound and I prefer this.

      There are twelve tracks on the disc - no hidden tracks or short intros. I can recall 4 being released as singles.

      Some of the tracks could be accused of being quite similar but although a few music scores echo each other the lyrics are very individual from the rather blase lady spotting to the more pensive free.

      No worries and lay your hands were huge tracks - I didn't realise at first who was singing these songs! You will have heard them even if you don't recall it. I personally like the up beat 'A Little High', but I find quite a few of the tracks are true to life and remind me of situations in my life where I have though the same kind of things.

      This is a good album to listen to as backgound music - it won't wind you up but will give you a nice buzz!!! The picture on the cover makes me very jealous too.

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      23.06.2008 14:33
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      Great easy to listen to mellow tracks

      I love music, but I can't say I'm all that good at describing it. I'll try my best here though.

      I recently starting listening to this album again, and I still love it as much as I did when it was released in 2005 . It's full of the type of music that inspires and uplifts whilst being mellow and relaxing.

      Simon rose to fame as part of the boy band Blue. He launched a solo career about a year after they split in 2004. Lee Ryan also released an album around the same time if I remember correctly.

      I didn't expect all that much from Simon to be honest, sometimes when bands split the solo efforts are just a desperate effort to cling on to the fame etc. where talent is lacking.

      However, after hearing both his No.4 singles Lay Your Hands and No Worries and enjoying them both, I decided the album was worth a try.

      This album reached No. 7 in the charts and is double platinum.

      I have to say I was very glad I tried the album, there are a few tracks which are a bit unusual but I enjoyed them all. I always finish listening to this album feeling upbeat and refreshed so that's a good thing! Simon's voice is strong and works very well in this solo album.

      *************************************************
      Tracks

      1. Lay Your Hands

      One of the tracks released as a single. It's about being burdened and hopeless, and how when this person lays their hands on him it all goes away and life makes sense again.

      2. No Worries

      This track is very very "pop". It's bouncy and happy. Again it's about being positive and things getting better.

      3. After all this time

      Upbeat, catchy track about a woman holding her family together despite her partners negative actions in the past.

      4. A Little High

      More of the same really - it's not all bad - reach out and find what you once had....

      5. Time of your life

      This track just makes me want to singalong, it's very fun to singalong to.

      I love the way the bridge builds up to the chorus which is very bouncy:

      Oh if Iiiiii'mmmmm cramping your style laaaatellyyyyy! Love it! (Imagine me singing - cringeworthy!).

      Its about his partner thinking the grass is greener with someone else, so he's telling her fine, move on, have the time of your life.

      6. Unjustified

      One of the more unusual tracks on the album. It has unusual instrumentals at the opening and dotted throughout. I liked it though.

      7. Free

      This track is about feeling free, with that one person that loves you and lets you feel that way. It's a lot slower, more relaxed and Simon's voice comes through really well.

      8. Only Love

      This track has a nice baseline throughout. It's about love being the answer basically.

      9. All I Want

      This track is a bit deeper and suits Simon's voice really well. It's about not knowing what he had til it's gone, and trying to get it back.

      10. Ashamed

      Again a slightly deeper track. It's about paranoia, is Simon just jealous or is his girlfriend cheating?

      11. Sanctuary
      The title track is again mellow and relaxed, building to a more powerful chorus. Again just positive lyrics - I won't hold you back, I will be your sanctuary. Really nice track.

      12. Star
      Very unusual, almost reggae like feel to this. In fact prompted mt teenage nephew to sarcastically tell me how "good" the album was! Might put some people off, I don't mind it but it's not as appealing as the rest of the album.

      13. Give A Man Hope (Bonus track)
      Very similar to the rest of the album. Upbeat and positive.

      14. I Ain't You (Bonus Track)
      I really like this track. It's about having a hard time when he was younger for standing out and not being cool.
      When he goes to a reunion years on obviously he's on top.
      "I ain't you and you are not me, we are who we are let us be". Simple but true.
      This is one of my favourites actually.

      **************************************************

      The album has quite an r&b feel to me, it's mellow like that, but I am somewhat unqualified to fit music into genres!

      Some people may find it a bit cheesy, the album is mainly about being positive and things getting better so I suppose it's a bit cliched in that sense. I like it though, and I don't mind the similarities in the tracks, I know I if like one, and they're all similar, I'm most likely gonna like them all!

      I haven't heard much about Simon Webbe since this album, apart from seeing him on the Paul O Grady show, where he was promoting a new track which was to be the soundtrack for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Apparently he's branching into films so maybe we'll hear from him soon - hope so.

      In the meantime let me apologise if my music reviewing is amateurish - just wanted to share this album with you.

      May appear on other sites.

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        26.10.2006 13:48
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        Brilliant!

        Simon Webbe's Album is the best album i bought in 2005!

        Even took it on Holiday with me in August 2006, was a good holiday album! Brilliant...now everytime i hear his songs it reminds me of chillin' by the pool in Cyprus

        Favourite songs include; 'Free', 'After All This Time', 'No Worries' and 'Star'

        Can't wait for his new album out soon, 'Coming Round Again'

        10/10

        www . shanehampsheir . co . uk
        www . myspace . com/officialshanehampsheir

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          24.08.2006 20:07
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          Great uplifting album

          Simon Webbe first shot to fame in the hugely successful boy band, Blue. Blue were renowned for their R&B/pop sound, smooth harmonies and (apparent) good looks, as well as the odd controversial bad boy moment. They had the cool factor that former boy bands had lacked and managed to cling on to their success, even when the boy band were becoming a dying, much ridiculed, breed. Amid this transition in popularity from what is considered 'pop' (ie. cheese) to more indie/rock bands, Simon, Duncan, Anthony and Lee must have decided to call it quits whilst they were at the top of their game.

          I, even as one of the pop loving minority, have never really been in to my boy bands. Well, I suppose that I was a boy band lover in my own way; although I snubbed the mainstream and popular bands such as Boyzone, Westlife and Blue, I tended to form an attachment to those boy bands that were actually so uncool (can you believe it?) that they were dropped by their record companies prior even to the release of their first album (my past faves have included the Scott-Lee trio, 3SL; Triple 8; and Popstars The Rivals runners up, Phixx). Therefore, all this said, I was never a fan of Blue and actually actively disliked their music. I never really got the whole craze for the boys and never even bought so much as one single.

          It is common knowledge that the careers of ex-band members never quite match up to their success as part of the band, think of any of the former Spice Girls or members of Boyzone to illustrate this point. Even those members who were formerly the brains and voices behind the band, or the glue that held the group together, seem unable, after the band, to recreate this success by themselves, as Ronan Keating and Gary Barlow can testify. Bearing this in mind, as I was never a fan of Blue to begin with, I never thought that I would ever be buying a single by on of the boys gone solo, and it would take a pretty special single to convince me otherwise.

          This single, however, did, to my surprise, finally emerge, and it came by way of Simon Webbe. I expected, on hearing that Simon was releasing a single, to hear more of Blue, just minus three voices. However, what I heard was a less poppy, more laid back smooth sound and it was, indeed, very impressive. The first single convinced me that Simon was capable of beginning a solo career, the second single convinced me to buy what is a pretty impressive debut album.

          LAY YOUR HANDS is the first track on this album and also Simon's first single. It is a brilliant track that I loved from the start and that I continue to love. It is a laid back, slow track with a string accompaniment and a catchy, heartfelt chorus. I love the computerised backing vocals at the beginning and during the bridge and Simon's smooth vocals carry off the track perfectly.

          NO WORRIES is Simon's second single and another laid back, soulful pop track. The verses are accompanied by a strong beat and guitars and the female 'background' singer dominates the chorus with heartfelt, soulful vocals. The lyrics reflect the laid back, upbeat sound of this track - 'I just know you're life's gonna change/ maybe not today, maybe not today/ Someday soon you'll be alright/ I just know you're life's gonna change… no worries, no worries' . It is a great uplifting and catchy track and my favourite song on the album.

          Simon wrote AFTER ALL THIS TIME about his grandmother and it's a very heartfelt track with expressive vocals and lyrics - 'Age it shows, though we try and hide it/ Inside, she is loving him still/ After all this time/ And behind his tired eyes/ She sees the boy with his arms wide/ Who made her feel like an angel'. It is a slow track with beautiful background music, a strong baseline and a delicate, heartfelt verse that launches in to a strong, upbeat chorus. I really like this track a lot.

          A LITTLE HIGH, the fourth track on this album, starts off with a gentle, soulful verse that leads on to a faster paced, catchy chorus. It is a little wistful sounding with heartfelt vocals and a powerful interlude towards the end. It is probably not the most memorable track but it is a nice, relaxing song with good backing music.

          TIME OF YOUR LIFE is a brilliant track; Simon's vocals are, as always, very expressive and the backing track is very upbeat and unusual. I find it hard to categorize this track, it is just trademark Simon, laid back pop with a touch of R&B and a touch of soul. It is a nice, uplifting track about letting someone go and ending an unsatisfactory relationship - 'If I'm wasting my time, baby/ If something within you can't be satisfied/ Then get up, get out, give in/ oh if I'm cramping your style, lately if something is greener on the other side/ Then go on, and have the time of your life'.

          UNJUSTIFIED is a quirky pop track with unique, upbeat guitar music. It has gentle, staccato verses and a smooth, uplifting chorus. It is a gentle, laid back pop track.

          FREE is probably my second favourite track on the album. It is a gentle, soulful ballad and Simon's vocals are soft and beautiful (in a manly way of course! Grr!) It is a sweet and emotive love song with heartfelt, sentimental lyrics - 'What a way to wake up/ Just to find you there and/ Touch you in the morning/ You turn your head and look up/ There's no need to catch me/ Baby, I'm not falling… It's only you that makes me free/ I'm not used to being loved, not me.'

          ASHAMED is another upbeat and soulful track. It is very catchy with lively guitar backing music and meaningful lyrics about feeling, as the title suggests, ashamed for acting paranoid in a relationship and almost driving his girlfriend away. It is definitely a standout track.

          ONLY LOVE is an R&B track with strong beats, smooth harmonies and a laid back, gentle chorus. It is a nice enough track but probably not one of the most memorable.

          ALL I WANT is a track that I can never remember how it goes prior to playing it but when it starts I really enjoy it. It is an R&B/pop track with a moody feel, a strong assertive baseline and a powerful backing track accompanying expressive, heartfelt vocals. As it is not upbeat, like the other tracks, it makes a nice change and is well placed on the album.

          STAR is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The track begins with tribal sounding chants which remind me of something from the 'Lion King'. It has quite an exotic, fun feel to it with chanting and unusual, catchy backing music. It is a very unique track which I love.

          SANCTUARY is probably my least favourite track on the album but it is a good track in itself. This is possibly my least favourite because it is quite a cliched 'last album track'; a big ballad with soft, gentle verses and a big heartfelt chorus. The beginning sounds quite similar to 'Free' but just not as sincere or powerful and the choruses don't seem to have sufficient emotion behind them to carry it off. Simon's vocals are also drowned out by the music and backing vocals which is a shame. It is worth a listen but will perhaps not hold your attention by the end of the album.


          TRACKS-
          1. LAY YOUR HANDS
          2. NO WORRIES
          3. AFTER ALL THIS TIME
          4. A LITTLE HIGH
          5. TIME OF YOUR LIFE
          6. UNJUSTIFIED
          7. FREE
          8. ASHAMED
          9. ONLY LOVE
          10. ALL I WANT
          11. STAR
          12. SANCTUARY

          UK SINGLES FEATURED ON ALBUM-
          LAY YOUR HANDS
          NO WORRIES
          AFTER ALL THIS TIME

          TRACKS WRITTEN BY SIMON- (8 out of 12)
          Lay Your Hands
          No Worries
          After All This Time
          A Little High
          Time Of Your Life
          Unjustified
          Ashamed
          All I Want

          BEST TRACK- No Worries

          WORST TRACK- Sanctuary

          ALBUM UNIQUE SELLING POINT- Simon's impressive vocals.

          ALBUM SUMMARISED IN ONE WORD- Relaxed

          ARTIST POTENTIAL- Despite the hit singles from this album, Simon hasn't done much since its release. However, he may have simply been busy with other projects (he has a record company and a daughter to also consider) and I think that Simon has a lot to offer and will have a relatively long music career, if that's the route he chooses to take.

          SCORE OUT OF 10 FOR…
          VOCALS- 10
          LYRICS- 8
          MUSIC/BACKING TRACKS- 10
          VARIATION IN TRACKS- 8
          OVERALL ALBUM- 8

          RECOMMENDED- Yes

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            28.12.2005 15:30
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            The first album from singer Simon Webbe.

            I’m a huge music lover and was lucky enough to find three CDs stuffed into my Christmas stocking this year, one of which was Simon Webbe’s latest release “Sanctuary.” Most people will probably recognise the name as forming a quarter of the English boy band “Blue” who split up earlier this year. As part of Blue he sold over 9.5 million albums worldwide and so is quite a renowned artist within the music world. Since then Simon Webbe has gone on to release two signals and also this latest offering in the form of his debut solo album. His typical genre of song is that of soft r n b in a sense, it’s not quite as upbeat as that of larger artists such as Usher and is reminiscent of Lemar or Mario Winans style if you want someone to compare him to.

            The first track was his first release back in August of this year “Lay Your Hands On Me” which went into the UK charts at Number 4 and stayed within the top 10 for 3 weeks. It’s quite a soft and mellow track which suits his voice entirely with a soothing beat underneath the song throughout. Throughout the album his voice alternates between laid back pop, soft r n b and even borders on soothing soul at times too. The song is basically about life in general and how things can often seem to get on top of you at times, in which case you need to turn to others for help. “Oh baby when I’m calling out, give me love and affection, keep telling me, show me the way.” This track is followed by his second release “No Worries” which has seen great success in the past couple of weeks and is still in the UK chart at position 14. It’s infectious and you won’t be able to help yourself from singing along. It’s got a soothing beat running throughout, slightly more upbeat than the previous track with some great lyrics also. It also follows on rather suitably from the previous track which is about the pressures of life; this song focuses more on how you don’t need to worry about things and how they’ll always change for the better. “I just know your life’s gonna change, baby not today maybe not today, someday soon you’ll be alright.” It gives you a sense of reassurance and hope even, something that a song hasn’t actually convicted in me for some time.

            The third track on the album is pure emotion in my mind, “After All This Time” is the classic story of how a man does you wrong in some sense yet the woman will always love him, mainly down to their pride. When I first heard this song I really felt quite motivated by it and after listening to it a few times it almost made me feel a little sad. It’s got a soothing acoustic groove to it and although it’s far from a dance track it is one that you could easily find yourself tapping your foot along to. It is a simple song, with little backing music and quite limited ranges to his voice – yet it’s effective. “And to the outside eye, they see a family getting by, and it all seems perfect, and that’s how she wants it, cos she’s loving him still, after all this time.” The fourth track on the album is a little more upbeat than the previous three yet still remarkably chilled, “Little High.” His voice has such a calming quality to it, melodic sounding at all times and ideal for relaxation. This track is all about making changes in your life, a theme that seems to have been in force throughout the album so far. It’s nice in a sense that the track meanings all seems to link together in a sense. “I can see you’re in need of some protection, don’t fret don’t cry, just go ahead change it, just gotta face it, everybody needs a little high.”

            The fifth song on the album is another song concerned with love, and the problems it can cause within a relationship. “Time Of Your Life” focuses on how even though it may appear you’re having a great time you may be neglecting a loved one. “You say you’ve got all you’d ever want, then how come you’re demanding everything, a little bit more from everyone.” What I really like about this album is that the tracks have a mixture of positive and negative emotions; on the majority of albums I’ve heard recently they’ve focused on the negative aspects of love which is where this one is a refreshing change. “Unjustified” really changes the mood of the album; it’s much more quirky and upbeat than any of the previous songs and shows Simon’s voice off at a different angle. It’s got a sexy feel to it almost with a sultry chorus and beat running throughout it but surprisingly it’s the track I’ve skipped the most often since I’ve had the album. “So have it your way, but you’ll pay the price, you had your chances, still got no answers, no leaving with your head held high.”

            The opening of “Free” sounds like something Delta Goodrem would produce and has the same angelic quality throughout. Simon’s voice appears to be lighter in this track, almost faded slightly and hypnotic in a sense. It’s a great song with clear passion throughout it, not at all wishy washy like some love songs can appear. “Free, when you’re near me, yeah I’m free all the time, I just need you to hear me, it’s only you that makes me free, I’m not used to being loved.” It’s got that wonderful reassuring quality again that everyone can find love and just how brilliant love can be. There are some great crescendos in this track that show the strength of his voice which is also another positive of this track. “Ashamed” is next up and again has a quirky feel to it and certainly sounds more pop like than his previous tracks. It’s got a feel of Blue or Westlife to it which does make it a little cringe worthy but on the whole it’s an okay track. The general gist of the track is that he’s accused his girlfriend of cheating on him and is trying to rectify himself, a topic that’s surely been sung about before at some point. “I realise that we all can make mistakes, and I’ll do whatever it takes babe, you know I’d do anything for you.”

            “Only Love” has a great opening beat to it, something similar to that of laid back Mario or Usher and really gets under your skin. The track is much more quirky than previous ones with a faster beat causing Simon’s voice to jump effortlessly over the different notes. The chorus is brilliant, really inspiring and also quite uplifting as well. Obviously about love and how it can lift you up completely, “I don’t know why or how we go here, but I reach inside and the answer is clear.” “All I Want” is the ninth track on the album and opens with a phone message from his girlfriend saying she just can’t handle things anymore and the song is his response to her. It’s got quite a depressing feel to it and almost sounds as if it never quite gets up and running in a sense. I can just imagine someone quite cheesy like Backstreet Boys in their former days doing a dance to this and that almost makes me dislike it! It’s not his best song, far too main stream boy band material for my liking and is really the only weak link on the CD. “All I want it you, I’m no longer confused, my life is not the same and I’m the one to blame.”

            “Star” is the second to last track on the album and has a very African feel to it with soul singers opening the track and the sound of drums playing lightly throughout. It’s quite odd that he’s chosen to mix an African theme in the music with a song classically about a girl, his star with references to “the club” and “the dance floor!” Upon first hearing this song I wasn’t overly keen but it’s grown on me, it’s a refreshing change to the mood of the album and shows that he is capable of covering different genres and moods of music. “I don’t what it is, but it’s shining like a star, so come on over, and show me who you are, a little closer I can’t touch you from afar, just you and me girl dancing in the dark.” The last track, rather oddly, is the title track of the album “Sanctuary” which normally appears earlier than in this position on an album. Again is reverts back to the opening theme created by “Lay Your Hands On Me” and talks about how he’ll basically be your sanctuary and save you. Presumably by listening to this album whenever you’re a little down he’ll act as your sanctuary, I doubt he’ll make home visits! It’s a good song, smooth sounding and a little uplifting but I can see why he’s saved it till the last position. “I’ll be your sanctuary, be the last one left here standing, if you’re feeling all alone, when the world feels so temporary.”

            My Opinion

            I personally think this is one of the best albums I currently own, there’s something on here for every mood of mine and I’d have to give it thumbs up. His sound is very “urban folk” as he calls it himself, mixing r n b with soul and doing it rather well if you ask me. His voice has recently been compared in certain music magazines to that of Tunde from The Lighthouse Family which I feel sums it up completely. It’s melodic, soothing and sultry too at times. As for the album it’s got a great mixture of songs with only 1 or 2 weaker tracks which is a great accomplishment for any debut album. The songs all seem to flow on effortlessly from each other, there’s no sudden change in beat or tempo and as such it’s almost like reading a book with a clear flow to it. I’d give this album 5 out of 5 myself!

            www.amazon.co.uk £8.99
            www.play.com £8.95
            www.tesco.co.uk £8.97

            Guardian Unlimited “His primary talent is sounding heartfelt, no matter how trite the subject; he could soon be giving Seal a run for his money.”

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