Album Review: Paul Young – Good Thing

Published On April 27, 2016 | By Michael Smith | Albums, Music

Aside from a collection of swing covers released in 2006, Good Thing marks the first time Paul Young has released a solo album since 1997’s self-titled affair. Rather than writing and releasing new material, however, he’s aiming back towards his roots and tackling a selection of Memphis soul tracks in his own covers; a safe choice, and one that makes a lot of sense for him. Unfortunately, the execution of the album isn’t quite as good as you might hope.

Paul Young Good ThingFrom his cover of Al Green’s L-O-V-E (Love) to The Bee Gees’ Words, there’s an interesting mixture of tracks here. It’s undeniably static, with songs all pulling from identical sounds and featuring a similar palette of instruments. The choice makes sense given the context of the album, and moments such as the upbeat, brass heavy cover of Homer Banks’ Ain’t That A Lot Of Love and the generally sunny opener L-O-V-E (Love) are extremely enjoyable and fresh among some slower tracks that often sound more similar to each other than they do to these two.

The thing that makes Good Thing a sort of struggle to stomach, however, is Paul Young’s own vocals. Time has given him a much huskier voice, one that occasionally struggles to keep up—most notably on Eloise (Hang On In There)—but always feels a little out of place alongside these arrangements. He sounds most comfortable on the cover of Words, and it’s only a major detracting factor in Eloise, but it does hold the album back somewhat.

Rather than a return to form for Young, Good Thing sits firmly as a solid but largely unimpressive cover album. Existing Young fans will surely get a kick out of the album, and it’s nice to see him going back to something familiar and positive after such a long absence from his solo career, but that’s about the extent of what the album offers. Good Thing is a nice album, but not one you’ll revisit often.

2.5 / 5 stars     

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One Response to Album Review: Paul Young – Good Thing

  1. Jesper Jelse says:

    Probably Paul’s best album. Hearing this guy again after so long is like meeting a dear old friend. Theres an old saying that goes “what you lack in technique, you have to make up with passion” and that is exactly what’s going on here. Pauls made a great comeback vocally, but he also adds a more soulful laid-back feeling to these new tracks. This was a great surprise and this record will be THE feelgood album for me this summer.