Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Poor Duffy. The preview tracks for her debut album Rockferry had everyone hailing her as one of the great new voices (even though she referred to classic pop and soul traditions) but when the album did arrive -- with some admittedly weaker tracks -- a section of the British press turned on her. They got in with the backlash even before the album was in stores.
But not so poor Duffy -- because Rockferry (justifiably) scooped up Brit awards (three including best album), sales in the many multiple millions and was nominated for three Grammys.
But it's poor Duffy time again because this album is not a patch on its predecesor, despite help from songwriter Albert Hammond Snr in the co-writing and co-production departments, and the Roots on board. But large swathes of this sound like she has abandoned that naturally powerful, soulful voice for some helium-inhaling and stabbing dance beats and synths which strip this of the human component.
Duffy at 26 seems to have regressed and is pitching herself as a late teen popette on material like the godwawful opener My Boy, the exceptionally irritating Well Well Well which sounds much longer than it 2.43 and the truly horrible Lovestruck.
When she gets into reflective mode (Don't Forsake Me with it soulful edge over strings and a distant "choral" part) it is much better (although even there she still isn't as interesting as similar songs on that debut). The title track is full of promise (although lyrically not up to much) but even here her vocals seem tight and, for want of a better phrase, adolescent.
Girl, towards the end -- if you get there -- is poppy and kinda cool.
You'd loved to have heard her do the interesting Child's Play a couple of years back. You suspect it would have benefited from a much more belting and resonant delivery free of the end-of-line quiver which sounds like a substitute for real emotion.
You don't look forward to "the difficult third album".