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Can Zayn Malik replicate the success of these former boyband members?

 
By on Friday, 31st July 2015 at 11:00 am
 

In March 2015, the pop world came to a standstill when Zayn Malik announced that he was leaving One Direction to live the life of “a normal 22-year-old”. Since leaving the boyband, the 22-year old has spent time in the studio with Naughty Boy, though the collaboration appeared to fall through after Zayn called the producer “a fat joke” in a Twitter feud in July.

On Wednesday, July 29th, 2015, Zayn took to Twitter again to announce he’s signed a solo record deal with RCA Records, whose other acts include the likes of Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake and Mark Ronson. He tweeted the following. Not quite the life of “a normal 22-year-old”, is it Zayn?

Nevertheless, Zayn Malik isn’t the first former boyband member to pursue a solo career, not by a long shot. Can he go on to replicate the success of these megastars?

Justin Timberlake

Having risen to fame as part of *NSYNC, Justin Timberlake made an instant impact on the charts with ‘Like I Love You’, ‘Cry Me A River’ and ‘Rock Your Body’ from his debut album, ‘Justified’. Three years later, Timberlake returned with ‘SexyBack’, giving the singer his first solo #1.

After a lengthy break from music (to pursue a number of acting roles and business ventures), he made his return in 2013 with ‘The 20/20 Experience’, which featured hits such as ‘Suit & Tie (ft. Jay-Z)’ and ‘Mirrors’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DksSPZTZES0[/youtube]

Robbie Williams

In July 1995, a matter of months before Take That were set to embark on a worldwide tour, Robbie Williams was given an ultimatum by his bandmates: adhere to the band’s responsibilities or leave. He chose the latter, and the rest (as we all know) is history.

Since then, Robbie Williams has gone on to top the Official UK Single Chart seven times, with hits such as ‘Candy’, ‘Somethin’ Stupid (ft. Nicole Kidman)’ and ‘Rock DJ’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnO3nijfYmU[/youtube]

Ronan Keating

Following a successful run in Boyzone, Ronan Keating bid farewell to the boyband to pursue his own solo career, which has had all the thrills of a rollercoaster ride. The Irish pop singer’s cover of ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ gave him a debut #1, with ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’ equalling his success a year later.

Keating went on to release a string of hits, including ‘Lovin’ Each Day’, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’ and ‘I Love It When We Do’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giABAfeEc0U[/youtube]

Nick Jonas

After The Jonas Brothers rose to fame on the Disney Channel, it was only a matter of time before one of them achieved solo success. Joe Jonas looked to be the odds-on favourite when his collaboration with Demi Lovato, ‘This Is Me’, landed in the Official UK Top 40, although his attempts didn’t quite work out.

Nevertheless, Joe’s younger brother Nick kept the Jonas flag flying with ‘Jealous’, which was kept off the number one spot by Jess Glynne – ‘Hold My Hand’ in April 2015.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw04QD1LaB0[/youtube]

Lionel Richie

Way back in 1968, Lionel Richie joined American soul group The Commodores as a singer and saxophonist. His knack for writing a ballad earned Lionel Richie songwriting commissions from other artists, which paved the way for his own solo career.

The singer went on to release phenomenal hits such as ‘Hello’, ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ and ‘All Night Long’, earning himself a spot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in June 2015.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDZcqBgCS74[/youtube]

Other former boyband members that have embarked on a solo career include George Michael (Wham!) Nathan Sykes (The Wanted), Ashton Merrygold (JLS), Simon Webbe (Blue), Boy George (Culture Club) Brian McFadden (Westlife), Ricky Martin (Menudo), Morrisey (The Smiths), Phil Collins (Genesis), Gary Barlow (Take That), Michael Jackson (The Jackson 5) and many, many more.

 

The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees

 
By on Friday, 11th January 2013 at 4:37 pm
 

Is there any point to the BRITs? Granted, it gives a certain demographic of London teenager the opportunity to sting Daddy for the eye-watering £70 ticket price, no doubt getting stuffed with half-term pizza and fructose syrup before spending three hours squealing loudly at microscopic effigies of their latest tabloid-endorsed musical crushes. But beyond that, does any vestige of musical credibility remain within the unhallowed, chart-obsessed recesses of the BRIT Award psyche?

A swift perusal of the nominations, released yesterday, would indicate: maybe, actually. The usual mega-selling suspects are there: Emeli Sandé, Mumford and Sons, Robbie Williams, Olly Murs. But look a little deeper and could there just be enough respect for the breakthrough, even the underground, so that beyond the face paint and lasers, there’s a bedrock of credibility?

Step forward Richard Hawley, the most unlikely of the entire nomination list, proving that the BRITs aren’t immune to a decent bit of ‘70s-throwback guitar action and heart-on-the-sleeve balladry from a bequiffed Yorkshireman. Plan B also deserves a shout for his unflinching portrayal of council estate life in ‘Ill Manors’, which still deserves to make more of an impact than it has.

Jessie Ware gathers two nods, a fine result for her this early in her career, single-handedly making 2011’s Critic’s Choice Award for her namesake Jessie J look ever more ridiculous. The more listeners turned on to her coolly urban soul, the better. Paloma Faith is also up for two gongs – British Female Solo is fair enough, but British Album of the Year for ‘Fall to Grace’, for a collection significantly worse than her début, is deeply suspect. British Group unoriginally throws up two previous Mercury Prize winners: unlikely media darlings alt-J, and minimalist electro-songsters the xx; Muse are nominated for the ninth (and tenth) time, with Mumford and One Direction predictably making up the numbers. A rum collection, if ever there was one, and despite the disparate yet singular talents of each, hardly a state-of-the-nation statement.

The British Single category is too depressing to analyse deeply. Suffice to say a more turgid collection of middle-of-the-road dross it’s difficult to conceive. Any list containing the execrable ‘Mama Do the Hump’ by Rizzle Kicks deserves to be encased in concrete and dropped into a very deep hole. Thankfully each of the British Breakthrough nominees have something to commend them, though surely Jake Bugg is the most extraordinary of the lot; his compellingly grizzled, world-weary, yet uplifting take on vintage blues in his debut album means he should have no problem in lifting the spotted statue next month.

Ironically, there’s far less to complain about the International (read: American) nominees. Perhaps it’s because we expect the USA to do bigness well, it’s difficult to complain about someone like Bruce Springsteen being nominated, although one wonders just how much pride of place a BRIT award would take on the dashboard of his pickup truck.

As always, it’s good to see producers, the guys behind the desk who really make the music, getting their opportunity to shine, although it seems somewhat unfair that Damon Albarn should be sharing their limelight – hasn’t he had enough of it by now? If the Albarn effect can be resisted, Paul Epworth should walk away with this one, although personally I prefer listening to his sister’s output to his. And what of Amy Winehouse and The Rolling Stones, both nominated, neither deservedly? Stop it, BRITs! Pick people who are more alive!

The 2013 BRITs take place on Wednesday the 20th of February at London’s O2 Arena. TGTF will be reporting, either from the event itself, or from somewhere else in London more interesting. Watch this space.

Who should win the British Brits, I reckon?

Male Solo: Richard Hawley
Female Solo: Jessie Ware
Breakthrough: Jake Bugg
Group: One Direction
Single: Alex Clare – ‘Too Close’
Album: Plan B – ‘Ill Manors’
Live: Coldplay
Producer: Paul Epworth

Full list of nominees after the jump.
Continue reading The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees

 

Album Review: Robbie Williams – Reality Killed the Video Star

 
By on Tuesday, 10th November 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Robbie Williams - Reality Killed the Video Star (side)I admit. I’m pretty geeky when it comes to Robbie Williams. Ok, ok, so pretty much everyone agrees his last album, Rudebox, sucked bad – but come on, remember Feel? Come Undone? Millennium? She’s the One? It’s undeniable Mr. Williams has produced some incredibly awesome numbers other than Angels over the last few years – so surely we can forgive him for that momentary “rudebox! do the rudebox” blip? Well, I suppose he needs to begin by reassuring us all with his latest album, Reality Killed the Video Star – the musical child spawned from a few reclusive years in America generally spent obsessing over aliens and finding love in the form of American actress, Ayda Field.

Before I commence with the review, you gotta cut the Robster some slack. Over the past few months, Robbie’s had to sit at home watching his thriving ex-bandmates, Take That, sell out stadiums across the nation, while he was contrastingly left alone to deal with the biting backlash of British fans and critics. Reality Killed the Video was, alas, a super scary risk for the confidence-knocked Robbie. The album is, unsurprisingly then, filled with a bag of endearing nerves.

Still, back in July, Williams commented Reality Killed the Video Star would offer up a slice of “old Robbie, new Robbie, and a Robbie that neither of us have met”. The album, much to the pleasant surprise of fans, certainly does embrace retro R.W. Lush string arrangements are evident throughout the album, particularly amid mushy ballads such as impressive opener, Morning Sun, the orchestral ditty, Blasphemy, and You Know Me – a slick, slushy love song lined with retro doo-wops. Additionally, it’s particularly nice to hear Robbie’s classically suave, Swing When You’re Winning-era voice pushing itself through here.

As well as nostalgic Williams ballads, there are too, many hints of those curious Rubebox beats. Electro-pop tracks include the La Roux’d Last Days of Disco, and the robotic Difficult for Weirdos, which sadly verges on annoyingly immature both musically and lyrically (“Psycho evolution, your pollution, makes it difficult for weirdos”) come the end.

But what of this Robbie “neither of us have met”? Well, I’d start with the intriguing Deceptacon, a track equal to a soppy Space Oddity, boasting a particularly exotic harmony and classic guitar arrangement towards the end. Meanwhile, the jerky Bodies may be saturated in terrible lyricism (“Jesus really died for me, then Jesus really tried for me)”, but it still possesses a gratingly awesome, gritty-hook which recently made it an unsurprising radio hit. Superblind is a further highlight – a fine, near 5 minute, electro-orchestral mix, while Do You Mind is similarly appealing thanks to it’s gruff guitar riffs and sugary-pop chorus.

To conclude, I’d say there are certainly no captivating classics evident on Robbie’s latest offering. There are no lingering sing-alongs ala Feel, nor cocky dance-alongs such as Rock DJ. But, honestly, it’s not all that bad. The production is typically big and bold, and Robbie is certainly back with an undoubted sense of strengthened stability this 2009. And I’m happy for him.

Reality Killed the Video Star is out now. Purchase it over at Amazon.co.uk for £8.98

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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