Daniel Powter - Turn on the Lights (EMI)
CD / DL
Still best known for 2005's Bad Day Canadian Daniel Powter unleashes another collection of soft rock and pop ballads but falls short of matching his previous success.
First things first, the title of this album is only one word short of having the very same title as that brilliant debut from Interpol some ten years ago but apart from that (bet you know the rest?), yes indeed, the similarities end there.
Late starter was our Daniel, not gaining success until his mid-30s with that big MOR smash Bad Day which, unless you spent a significant chunk of 2005 with your ears pressed between two pillows, only venturing out at night (while making sure to stay clear of any 24hr garages) will know exactly the tune that I speak of.
This new album release is him, I can only assume, having another go at getting his tunes back into the western world's airplay, and thus into our heads (is that a "what?, no thank you!" I hear in the distance?), and therefore endlessly piped into any clothes shops and cafe's we happen to find ourselves in. Although you can kind of see why Bad Day became so successful (see also James Blunt's You're Beautiful from the same year) the question now is not only is there anything here that could be even half the hit that that one was, but also has the public maybe moved on, now that Take That are back, and The Script seem to be doing this sort of thing, ahem, better?
I'm not sure there is anything on this record that matches Bad Day's obvious awakening-of-the-general-public-as-they-go-about-their-rather-humdrum-lives: "You had a bad day / the camera don't lie / you're coming back down and you really don't mind / you had a bad day, oh... Holiday." These lyrics don't exactly say much to me, admittedly, but then I'm not everyone, and as you already know there seems quite a lot of people out there who love nothing more than airbrushed, mostly dour and earnestly sung, piano-led pop-rock ballads.
This album is all of these, and not much more. One could argue that those who 'get' this kind of thing are not what you would call actual lovers of music in the same way the rest of us are, but I guess that's their prerogative. As the saying goes, if everyone thought the same there would be no room at the picturehouse.
So what's most likely to find this Canadian bloke a hit this time around? Most probably the recent single, the generally bouncy Cupid (something I'm guessing Steve Wright on Radio 2 has already play-listed).
Unsurprisingly this one sits right at the top of the album, yet it's been out for about a month and I hadn't heard it 'til now (and that was only due to me voluntarily looking for it for the benefit of writing this). So I'm guessing that it still remains Bad Day as the tune the audience will continue to want?
Still, strangely but not surprisingly, someone out there is gonna like the music on offer here, only maybe not as many as all involved with the record would have hoped.
Maybe now is a good time for that grindcore change in direction. That is unless Maroon 5 get there before him.
All words by Philip Neeson. You can read more from Philip on Louder Than War here.