George Alan O’Dowd – better known as Boy George, returns with his first solo record of original material in over a decade with This Is What I Do. After first shooting to fame in the early 80s as the front-man of Culture Club, the colourful character has dealt with a lot of issues in his personal and professional life over his 30+ year career. The now 52 year old has addressed some of these issues in This Is What I Do and produced a mature comeback album.
Beginning with King of Everything, it’s obvious that George hasn’t lost his ability to sing, as his powerful voice reminds us why he has been so successful over the years. His sooth voice serenades an apology for his errors (“You know I’m sorry for the times I made you cry/I made an art of letting you down”) and is a strong opening track.
Talking about the power of love in Bigger Than War, George creates a catchy pop hit, balancing his deep vocals with upbeat instrumentals and backing vocals. The jazzy pop track is all about this crazy thing called love, claiming that it is “Bigger than you/Bigger than me/Love is bigger than War”.
Evoking a sound reminiscent of Culture Club style, Live Your Life is a funky sounding reminder to be yourself and live the way you want (“Now is the time to live your life/No second chance/ You can’t rewind”). The track has a relaxed island party feel to it, perfect for Summer nights and reiterating a cliché but powerful message about getting what you want out of life.
Thrown into the mix is a crooning cover of Yoko Ono’s Death of Samantha. George’s version is heart-felt and raw, mixing rock based guitar and drumming with husky vocals as he sings the classic Ono track.
Later in the album comes Any Road, a slower and heart-felt track (“If you don’t know where you’re going/Any road will take you there”), and My Star, an upbeat, almost reggae- sounding number.
The final tracks Play Me and Feel The Vibration take on a darker sound than the other tracks, including dub beats and deep vocals. The former is a fun track which is dark yet upbeat in its chorus and finishes with a rap in its final verse.
This Is What I Do is a mixed collection of new songs from Boy George and successfully marks the comeback of his solo career. While it probably falls short in comparison to Boy George’s previous efforts, the album mixes genres and emotions to produce a quality record which fans should be pleased with.
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