This is my first ever review of a music album and I do hope that I can do it justice. I am a massive fan of Matt Cardle and I have been since the day I saw him audition for the X Factor back in 2010. I love his voice, the way he just seems like a normal guy and the fact he is easy on the eye helps too. I have bought his music, seen him tour and recently met him at an album signing and this is what prompted me to write a review on his current album The Fire.
In May this year Matt Cardle and Columbia records went off in different directions and whilst I suspect this was a really challenging time for Matt personally he was signed up by an independent label going by the name of So What which is an indie label. What was great with this move was that Matt was able to take his album in the direction that he really wanted and so you will find that on the album The Fire all but one of the tracks were written or co written by him and he also had a massive influence in producing the album too so it really is a part of him.
The Fire was released on Monday 29th October 2012 and I have to say I was eagerly anticipating receiving it but despite ordering with amazon prime my order didn't come and I had to pop to Tesco to pick up my hard copy of the album to take with me to the album signing in Manchester on the Tuesday. I downloaded the album from amazon too where it cost just £3.99 as album of the week but this price will obviously rise once it is not on offer anymore. The hard copy of the album costs around £8-£10 depending on where you purchase it.
The art work on the front of the CD features a picture of Matt Cardle looking to the side. He looks reflective and the orange and yellow tones give the impression of heat and fire which is obviously the name of the album. I think the picture on the front of the album is actually a good indicator of what kind of music you are going to get from this album because he does look reflective and thoughtful and considering he wrote a lot of these tracks following the break up with his girlfriend of over a year you can kind of expect that.
There are fourteen tracks on the bonus CD that I have but when I paid to download the album from amazon I only got the first ten as opposed to the bonus ones too so this is something to be mindful of when you are purchasing the album.
1) It's only love (3.13)
This track is the first track to be released from The Fire and was released on the same day as the album. The track is all about how you don't need love to live and I love the section which says "Did you think it would hold you?, D'ya think it would carry you?, Did you think it would save you?, D'ya think it would see you through? It's only love" because I think it emphasises how much we put in to being in love or wanting to be in love but no matter how wonderful it is it will not save you.
The track is quite fast paced and really emphasises Matt's ability to use that falsetto which he used so well during the X Factor. It is certainly one of my favourite tracks from the album because it means something and I do like music to actually mean something to me.
2) The Fire (3.36)
The fire is of course where the album took its name. This is a great song which is pretty rocky I think but which also emphasises the versatility in Matt's voice. For me this is about insecurities in a relationship as it is ending but it isn't a slow song and so there is a good pace to it and plenty of guitar as you would expect from an album which Matt has had lots of control over.
3) For every heartbreak (3.43)
For every heartbreak is really a song about coming out of a relationship feeling as though everything is ending but really it is only the beginning of something new. Matt makes the point that "for every heartbreak there is a reason". I think this is quite a hopeful song really and one which makes sense of the pain we go through following a break up.
For some reason I tend to expect songs about heartbreak to be quite slow but this one isn't. It is a good paced song and has a pretty rocky vibe to it with plenty of guitar audible throughout the song.
4) Water (3.38)
Water is a very slow moving song which I think is really beautiful. It is all about crying when you can't be with someone anymore for whatever reason. It makes full use of Matt's falsetto voice and at points you can really tell he is pushing it to the limit but it is such a beautiful track. You can almost hear the pain as he sings this one.
5) Anywhere (3.29)
Anywhere reminds me a little of a U2 track or something with the backing music of it and I think it is a really good thing. Again it is a pretty fast paced track and whilst it isn't my favourite on the album it is a really enjoyable one none the less.
6) Anyone else (3.04)
Anyone else is one of my favourite tracks off this album because it is a really rocky fun sound to it which isn't something that featured on the last album from Matt. This is all about getting up and out there following a break up but then realising that you really just want to be with the person you want. "I wanna look in to your eyes and find a way to stay forever, forever, cos I can't stand to be with anyone else" makes perfect sense to me and although this track has real sentiments behind it I love the beat, pace and Matt's voice in this one.
7) Empire (3.27)
Empire is again another song with plenty of pace to it with a real rocky edge to it. It is all about how someone you love can give you strength, replace your faith and lift you up and make you strong enough to build an empire. Quite a contrast from the sentiments of "It's only love" but this one makes sense to me too.
8) All that matters (2.55)
All that matters really is beautiful. Matt wrote this when he was still living with his ex girlfriend and they were struggling with their relationship. He was struggling to finish it but when she left he realised that it was finished. The song is all about loving someone but not being able to give them what they need and so just hoping and praying that someone else can love them the way they deserve. There is very little backing track to this song and so it totally emphasises Matt's beautiful voice and this one actually makes me cry it is that beautiful.
9) Lately (5.21)
This song is really quite a reflective one and it makes me think which I love in a song. Matt mentions that things won't come together but it is going to get better and so I think it is quite a positive track really. It is a slow one in which the real focus is Matt's voice and I love how you can feel the emotions coming through.
10) The first time ever I saw your face (3.49)
I first saw Matt sing this on the X Factor and seeing him so emotional singing a song filled me with emotion too. This time it has been recorded for this album and I can literally just break down when I hear him sing this one. There is so much powerful emotion to this song as he sings it and there is nowhere to escape from that. Although this song isn't written by Matt I feel he does it complete justice.
1) It's only love (acoustic)
This completely shows off Matt's beautiful voice. It is such a flawless performance and it is nice that his good friend Ali McMillan is featured on the song too! I love both versions equally as much on this CD I have to say.
2) Millionaire (acoustic)
This is a slow moving beautifully sung track which again showcases his gorgeous talent. It seems quite a reflective song talking about how he could have given someone the world and is almost begging them not to take every piece of his broken heart.
3) Hanging from your heart strings (acoustic)
Another slow moving song which isn't one of my favourites on the album but one which does showcase his talents very well and is really easy to listen to.
4) Your somebody
This is a much faster moving song which features plenty of guitar and talks about being somebody else, somebody who you love which again highlights the personal nature of this album.
The whole of this album seems some what more grown up than his first album Letters and even though I loved Letters I love this one even more because it is such a personal and reflective album. It is full of a mature sound and I can relate to all of the songs on the album which is why I think it manages to pull at my heart strings so much actually. The best way in which I can describe this album as a whole is that it is simply more "Matt" and by this I mean that although I loved him on the X Factor he was shaped, or at least tried to be shaped, in to a more generic pop star which isn't what he is about. The Fire totally expresses who Matt is and I love it for that reason. Even people who are perhaps a bit wary of Matt Cardle because of the whole X Factor thing should really have a listen to this one because I think you will see he is a credible artist and really doesn't get enough credit for how good he is.
I love how on so many tracks Matt starts off with such a soft sweet voice which I could honestly listen to all of my life but he really can switch to a louder, more powerful voice and it is just always so flawless even on the acoustic tracks.
I really hope I have managed to express how wonderful I think this album is. Matt Cardle doesn't get enough credit because he came from a show like the X Factor but he is an incredibly talented singer and song writer and I would urge everyone to get out there and buy this album, download it, whatever! You need this in your life!
Thank you for reading my review!