October 19, 2009

Mr Hudson, kicking and screaming

Mr Hudson drops the And The Library from his moniker and releases his second album this week. It's called Straight No Chaser and, for anyone who remembers his debut, this one is much more commercial and beefy. Kanye West produced it and the goal was, as Mr Hudson says in the interview below, to "kick 'em in the nuts."

I've not heard the whole album, but my early thoughts are that the West influence is too strong, For example, Hudson frequently and needlessly employs a vocoder to his voice. Now, if you're Kanye Ima Let You Finish West, this makes sense, but if you can sing as well as Ben Hudson, it becomes quickly irritating. The clearest example is the otherwise achingly pretty There Will Be Tears - I can overlook on that song - but it's sprinkled throughout the album. Hudson also seems a bit more hellbent on "kicking 'em in the nuts" with his vocals, which have become more shouty since the arrival of West as an influence.

For an example of what happens when West grabs hold of a Hudson song, check out the video below. In this case, Anyone But Him, may actually end up better - it sounds grand, even with Kanye all over it (can you tell I don't love him so much?).

The album's lead single Supernova, featuring West of course, was a relative hit, but the new track White Lies just flat out grates. I can't even define what I don't like about it (not to mention the fact Hudson looks terrible with black hair in the video).

Of the remaining five or so songs I've heard, there are some solid tracks, including Central Park, which sounds more like Hudson's debut, A Tale Of Two Cities..

Another quality song is the ballad Time

Jury's out until I hear the album from start to finish. It's got staggered release dates, so the US won't get it until Dec 1. Mr Hudson is opening for equally fit Calvin Harris on his current UK tour (see the Live section of Hudson's site). Kanye West is apparently in hiding.

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