2015 marks 10 years since pop singing sensation Shayne Ward won The X Factor UK‘s second series, a commendable feat which would change his life as he knew it; his debut album Shayne Ward rose to platinum selling status, which was followed by his sophomore effort Breathless in 2007 which shared similar success. After three years away from the limelight, Shayne came back with Obsession, unfortunately it did not soar up the charts as successfully as its predecessors. Ward turned to PledgeMusic to crowd fund his new album Closer, and amazingly his goal has been reached by over 200%, so everybody’s pumped for the new release.
The keys and a subtle beat introduce the boppy Moving Target, a sweet and endearing dose of pop delivered commendably, it’s great to hear Ward’s voice hit all the right notes once again; the touching My Heart Would Take You Back shows us the sincerity Shayne is capable of having through both the music and lyrics of this number, it doesn’t sound sad enough to jerk any tears but you still feel emotionally connected to the story; the warmth of the guitars and the rawness of the vocal makes I Never Said a great ballad. The Way You Were is upbeat and catchy, the thump of the drums throughout the track keep you enticed and once again Ward’s vocal is on par; Ward touches you once again with another ballad, Too Much To Lose could easily be about trying to reconcile with a romantic partner, the singer’s engagement fell through last year. A more angrier and concerned tone was taken with Crying, Lying Eyes where Shayne questions his partner’s antics, the pace of the track allows an intensity that best highlights the sinking feeling; I’m So Proud Of You is energetic, Ward’s vocal remains light and airy but it works.
Make It Simple is another emotional ballad, also made simple, but still fits so well on the album; the accusatory Fake lyrically warrants a harsher tone where its arrangement is concerned, but no matter how this track was delivered Shayne tells it how it is. I Let You Get Away continues Ward’s knack for delivering a decent ballad, the piano is to die for and his vocal as luscious as ever; Rendez-Vous, The Place I Love is best described as a homage to late 80s/early 90s pop with its bounciness and feel good vibe, it’s energetic mantra is to die for. Once again Shayne turns to a ballad, this time he takes on the Sugababes’ hit About You Now, it serves well to demonstrate once again that he has a wonderful voice; If You Were Here Tonight sort of falls in limbo, it doesn’t know whether to pick up or remain comfortable. No Promises is, surprise, a ballad but manages to break away from the others with a more unique melody. The deluxe edition of the album also consists of a remix of My Heart Would Take You Back as well as voice memos by Shayne explaining the origins of tracks My Heart Would Take You Back, Make It Simple and Moving Target.
Closer is a more deep and personal Shayne Ward record, with its many ballads and meaningful lyrics that make it all the more relatable. Often you would find yourself thinking “not another ballad!”, this album did need just that little bit of extra pizzazz, but maybe that’s not what Ward was going for with the sound of this album. You can honestly hear why the UK thought the singer deserved his X Factor win 10 years ago, his voice is to be desired; overall, Closer is a strong returning point for Shayne Ward and we’re sure his fans will make sure he’s welcome back on the charts.