Will Young – The Hits

2010-01-21 09:43
The Hits

I don't know if 'cool' was ever his thing. Much about Will has counted against him. Announcing to the world that he's gay just after he won Pop Idol in 2002 could have seriously hurt his career (look what poor Adam Lambert has had to endure), but somehow it didn't. And then there's the fat tongue and lisp, which he's never tried to coach or cut away. It seems sometimes all you really do need is a good voice. Ask Susan Boyle .

Will's tender, high voice is layered and sweet to the ear. He's a good singer. He just doesn't always sing particularly good songs. At the same time, it's hard to deny him this collection of hits. If you look back at the charts , Will was huge in the few years post-Pop Idol. "Evergreen", "Light My Fire", "All Time Love" and "Leave Right Now" are the most memorable. While the rest are mostly just recognisable, they don't have the staying power of the abovementioned tracks. Some of them like "Who I Am" and "You and I" are just dull downers.

In case you're wondering, his winning song from the show, "Anything Is Possible" is oddly omitted from the collection. In 2002, it became the fastest selling debut in UK chart history.

Just to prove he's not a has-been, two new songs have been included. "Hopes & Fears" is a cute, down-tempo dance-pop ditty with the most insane video. It might even creep you out a little. "If It Hadn't Been For Love" is an average depressing ballad, but you can hear this is probably Will's favourite song. He comes across as highly emotional and I think that adds to his appeal.

This package also includes a DVD featuring 13, yes 13 of Will's music videos. Bet you didn't know he had that many, huh? I've always loved his video for "Leave Right Now", where everyone talks directly to the camera. Most of his videos are very theatrical, and some are unashamedly gay. The video for "Grace" sees Will play a geeky equestrian who wins first prize at a show jumping contest, where he's the only contestant. A bit odd, but it's a lovely excuse to show off his fine form in jodhpurs, I guess.

Will looks incredibly good and he oozes style. The CD inlay looks like a male cologne ad campaign and no indie rocker could ever look as good in skin-tight pants.

It takes a few spins to get back in touch with Will, but there's a lot of fun nostalgia on this album. Will made the most of his reality show beginnings and his very distinct voice. Good on ya, boy!

Not just any old Pop Idol, he's the original. But eight years on, is Will Young still cool?
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