Matt Cardle has been somewhat internationally overshadowed since winning the seventh season of UK X Factor (by the group that came in third place, One Direction). His incredible voice actually gives me goosebumps, something that’s pretty rare in an age of computers and auto-tune. Now, he’s back with his third album, Porcelain, and his music is only getting stronger.
Cardle has said that he was pretty nervous when releasing his first album, due to the relative lack of success male winners of X Factor have experienced, when compared with female winners such as Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis, and Little Mix. That fear was put to rest pretty quickly though, with his debut single When We Collide debuting at number one on the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart, and going on to become the second biggest selling single of 2010 with 815,000 copies sold in just two weeks. Follow up singles were similarly successful, and his debut album debuted at number two on the UK and Irish Singles Charts, whilst his second album charted at number eight.
Though Cardle has stuck to the genre he knows best, and is damn good at, Porcelain takes things to a level previous albums did not; it allows Matt’s voice to really shine through, showing just how much he has grown in recent years. Setting the tone for the album is the opening track In Chains, a song that starts out simply with just Cardle and a piano, before building into a ballad of passion and frustration that perfectly suits the title. Then there’s the lead single from the album, Loving You, a duet with Melanie C. I was pretty skeptical about a duet with Sporty Spice (she will always be Sporty Spice to me), but their voices actually meld together so well, and the track is a romantic fusion of acoustic blues and country-pop.
The album weaves through an array of mostly breakup songs, but with the exception of Not Over You, a heartwrenching acoustic track, most have a fairly positive and upbeat vibe. When You Were My Girl, the latest single off the album, is a fun, pop song with a great funk inspired bass line, and the whole track, video clip included, are an obvious throwback to the music of the 70’s and early 80’s. Hit My Heart starts out sounding a bit dark and tribal inspired, with driving drums and creeping vocals, before a very upbeat pop chorus bursts through, showing Cardle’s positivity.
The rest of the album is pretty similar. The title track Porcelain is definitely a standout though, saved for the album closer, rounding everything off perfectly. It’s a slower, more relaxed tune, making use of Cardle’s incredible falsetto voice. He sounds almost fragile in this track, with the full power of his voice only breaking through occasionally. That’s okay though, because we’ve seen just how incredible his voice and range are throughout the rest of the album.
Porcelain, the album, is a great offering of pop/rock with a sprinkling of soul; an album that truly shines with the artists awesome vocals and musical range.