UK up-and-comer John Newman has the most interesting voice on the charts at the moment. His debut album Tribute showcases this, while going into deep and soulful places.
The 23-year -old was introduced to us all as the featured voice on the wildly popular Feel The Love – the breakthrough track for Rudimental. He was also the voice on their other banger Not Giving In.
He then swept in with his own breakthrough track Love Me Again – a soulful, catchy and dramatically different song –which went to number one on the UK Singles chart earlier this year.
Love Me Again is featured on this debut album – as well as many other tracks in the same vein, but none quite reaching the same heights of this initial masterpiece.
The title song Tribute starts slow, and builds the ambience with some futuristic noises. Its heartfelt, and another signature voice piece, but not quite a single. It also has a vibration – like a phone going off – in the chorus, which is misleading (and made me rustle through my handbag to search for my phone halfway through).
Cheating, the second single, is almost as catchy and game changing as Love Me Again, infusing a motown feel into this multilayered pop song and again using the tone of Newman’s vocals. It’s more upbeat, even though it’s about his gal cheating – and is an excellent second single. It has a great breakdown towards the end that brings in choir voices to enhance the intensity.
You can’t get much better then Love Me Again, the albums second track. It’s different, catchy and heartfelt. Simply, a must-listen. Running keeps the Love Me Again vibe alive, albeit with a lower, less intense chorus. It also has a great breakdown towards the end like Cheating.
Out of My head is a heartbreaking ballad about being lonely. It showcases Newman’s emotional aptitude and features beautiful, orchestral sounds. Gold Dust has a Not Giving In (Rudimental) feel – although I would’ve liked it to feature a dance break, instead of becoming another slow song. It has a very interesting sound, with a slight Ellie Goulding feel.
Goodnight Goodbye is another Love Me Again feeling track, starting low and building to a chorus of Newman’s soaring lyrics – although it captures a different vibe than the helpless, desperate feeling of Love Me again. All I need is you is a cool, old school sort of rock song. It’s relatively upbeat and carefree, compared to the other heartfelt tracks. Perfect as the last song on the album to leave you feeling emotionally spent, but happy.
Tribute is a holistic album which evokes plenty of emotion and showcases Newman’s interesting vocal tones and his soulful RnB sound. But their aren’t too many chart-topping singles – Love Me Again still acting as the pinnacle of Newman’s talent so far. But, it being a five star song, there’s nothing wrong with that.
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