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Rick Astley – “My Red Book”: Album Review

12 December 2012 21 Comments
This blog belongs to Radio Creme Brulee – an internet music radio station that broadcasts globally.

This review is by our guest bloggers Nadine and Josh from RickAstleyNews. They were one of the few recipients of an “advance” copy of the new Rick Astley album titled “My Red Book” (slated for release in 2013).  New Rick Astley is a reason for excitement and Nadine and Josh tell us exactly why via this review.

rickastley-myredbookWhen you saw the title of this review for a new Rick Astley album, was your first thought of the guy in the RickRolling video, the singer with the red quiff and raincoat?

Yes you know Rick’s a singer, but do you know Rick’s also a songwriter, musician and producer?  Well Rick’s latest album, My Red Book, is going to prove all those talents to you.  It has been 11 years since Rick’s last original material release (with ‘Keep It Turned On’ – ‘Portrait’ in 2005 was all covers).  Is ‘My Red Book’ worth the wait?  We think so.

Rick not only wrote, produced and independently released ‘My Red Book’, but he also plays guitar and drums on most tracks.  Not very Stock, Aitken, Waterman-sounding, is it?  More Adele or Coldplay actually, in our opinion – which may come as a surprise to some of you who haven’t heard much of Rick in recent years.  Gone is the synthesized pop production, replaced instead by a much more personal, mature and ‘live band experience’ sound.

‘My Red Book’ is one of those albums that translates very well to being performed live, as highlighted on Rick’s recent UK tour where the special limited CD edition of ‘My Red Book’ was available (and where TeamRick got our personalized autographed copies!)

Full of romantic lyrics & big sounds, the worldwide general public release in digital and CD formats, will be in January 2013.

Here is a detailed review of each track on the album:

Superman

The first single release (Available for Download)

Superman is upbeat & catchy, with quirky memorable lyrics, and sounds great on radio.  Will you recognize it as Rick? Probably not initially, but that is a great positive – Rick’s long-awaited ‘return’ needs to be a different sound to the synthesized 80s pop sound he is still associated with.

This song contains the line that gives this album its name.

I Like The Sun

This, in our opinion, is one of the best songs on the album. Again, an upbeat, up-tempo number that showcases Rick’s voice to superb effect, especially when performed live (see YouTube).  The repetitive lyrics and melody of this song ensure this one will stick in your memory within just a couple of listens.

Let It Rain

The next scheduled single in January 2013, to coincide with the general album release.

Simple, repetitive lyrics (much like raindrops – see what he did there?…) – this song was written the day the original PWL Hit Factory Live show was cancelled in London’s Hyde Park, due to rain.

“It seems so simple when it rains”

Sailing

“There’s a boat in the harbor, and it’s got your name upon it”.

Rick says this is ‘probably the most romantic line I’ve ever written’, and we also know (because he told us) ‘Sailing’ is about losing someone – but we don’t know who.  This song has quite a ‘folk’ feel to it in our opinion, with lovely acoustic guitar and Rick counting in this song, it has a lovely mellow beginning but picks up with the piano melody and gets more up-beat as it goes on. If only we knew who he named the boat after…

Saddest Day

There is certainly a sad element to this blues-style song, the opening lyrics being “Summers gone, winters coming” but we still think that it is brilliant, and probably one of the strongest songs on the album.  Before the start of the song Rick can be heard saying “Crazy Cat”  – we have no idea what this means – maybe it’s just a bit of fun to brighten his sad day?!

Lights Out

Radio Crème Brulee listeners will be familiar with this song, released in April 2010. A great pop song, with tones of Coldplay (Rick admits he was listening to Coldplay a lot at the time he wrote this song alongside his friend & producer Andrew Frampton).

Goodbye But Not The End

Another big ‘pop’ song that would do well on radio airplay charts, in our opinion as it’s in a similar vein to ‘Lights Out’.  Full again of romantic lyrics – you just want a hug at the end of this one.

Here is a video clip of a performance of this great song:

The Bitch

Rick assures us this song is not actually about anyone in particular!

This is a jazzy/blues style song, whose lyrics may raise some eyebrows, “the bitch didn’t take the tv” but it will also make your toes tap.

A Letter

Clearly one of the most romantic songs on the album. The most poignant collection of lyrics in this song would have to be “I only want to know that you’re alright, I only want to know that you’re safe tonight” before going into the chorus. We feel Rick is clearly opening up in this song. Such a romantic!

Josie

You will recognize the background track to Josie – Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake – “Josie was a little ballerina”.

This song has a darker theme to it, about a girl who was destined to be a ballerina, life was perfect when she was younger, however now she’s working in a “Gentleman’s Club”.  The song is from a Father’s point of view, explaining that Josie is not “Daddy’s little girl” anymore. Unfortunately in this song, Josie was just another broken dreamer…

“My Red Book” may challenge your expectations of Rick Astley.  If you are expecting a ‘pop’ album, you will probably be disappointed with this blues/jazz/folk-style album, but these styles do serve to highlight Rick’s vocals to great effect.  Is it an album packed full of commercial singles? Frankly, no. But it is a strong album, and an album packed full of songs at their best when performed live by the multi-talented musician, songwriter and singer who is Rick Astley.

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21 Responses to "Rick Astley – “My Red Book”: Album Review"

  1. Lucy Helene Magnus says:

    Can’t wait, hoping to get a copy asap! And it’s all classic Rick to me!

  2. Carl Haden says:

    I love that fact that Rick Astley has a new album out , can’t wait to get my hands one!
    Your guess blogger leaves something to be desired , are they teeny boppers or was this meant to sound like it was written by teeny boppers . I’m sure most of Ricks fans have matured since the last time Rick had a release . Maybe play’n to the wrong crowd ?

  3. teddybear316 says:

    I’m excited ! I’ve always loved Rick Astley ! He was my dream date . A new album from him will insure a very happy New Year !!
    BTW , a review of an album before it’s release is a bit premature , don’t you think ?
    I really don’t care to hear someone elses opinion when I have nothing to base MY opinion on , yet .

  4. TJ Nichols says:

    Josie is a very beautiful melody spun off Swan Lake. Very thought provoking. Amazing how he did it, like Barry Mantilow’s Largo/Could it be magic. “I Like the Sun,” is excellent. I got my copy a month ago & “Superman gives you glimpses inside Rick’s soul.

  5. @Lucy: We’re definitely looking forward to it too. There is something about the artists from that glorious era. Time does not erode their competence.

  6. @Carl: Thanks so much for the comment. As far as our guest bloggers are concerned, they are at the younger end of the age spectrum – which is what appealed to us to begin with. It allowed for a perspective and style of writing that was very different from ours. We wanted that. Furthermore, we were looking for something that gave us a sense of what to expect stylistically from the album. I personally think our guest bloggers succeeded and conveying that idea. But then again, I am sensitive to the fact that different styles of writing appeal to different folks. Age-wise, I am probably at the mid-point between the average age of the typical Rick Astley fan and the bloggers. As a result, I feel like great music transcends generations. I personally am glad that Rick Astley has younger listeners too. Just out of curiosity, how did you discover our radio station’s blog? We would love to know. Thanks once again!

  7. @teddybear316: Thanks so much for the comment. We too share your excitement. Reviews of albums that have not released are actually fairly common. They serve as an avenue to create an appetite for future music. We wanted our reviewers to give us a sense of what to expect stylistically from the new Rick Astley album. I agree that you might have a stronger sense of how accurate the review was only after the album releases.

  8. @TJ: Thanks so much for the comment. We’re hoping “I Like The Sun” is radio-friendly! We’re dying to feature new Rick Astley music that fits our radio format.

  9. maycho says:

    ….CUSTOM is a big job and is ultimately the essence of our great musician and singer Rick Astley;

    I fell for all the songs and did not stop to listen……

  10. José Luis says:

    Hi there, seems like this album has gone missing everywhere. Any suggestion to buy it? Thanks

  11. @Jose: I too wonder what happened to the album release. The lead single was released almost a year ago. It looks like a few fans got advance copies. Not sure what the album has not seen the light of day. I can follow up with Rick’s management and get back to you on this.

  12. Margareth Maffort says:

    Where I can find the Rick Astley’s CD “My red book”? I’d like very much to buy it.

  13. @Margareth: That’s a tough one. The album release is over 2 years overdue. Only certain fans were given a pre-release of the album. It was on ebay a little while ago but I guess it sold it fairly quickly given what a rare collector’s item it is. It is not very clear as to why Rick Astley chose not to release the album. He was talking about a lot in the months leading to the planned release date.

  14. Lee Brown says:

    I’m looking for “My Red Book” too. If he wails “I Like The Sun” on the album the way he does in the video clip from Bournemouth in 2012, I don’t see how it could avoid getting airplay. It’s powerful and very stirring.

  15. @Lee: It is still not clear why the release of this album was shelved. I’ve been trying to reach out to the writers of this piece. They are in active contact with Rick Astley’s management. I will try once again to see what the status on this album is. Thank you so much for the comment.

  16. Corey R says:

    Big Rick fan; still have my fingers crossed for the album, although it unfortunately seems unlikely.

  17. @Corey: We cannot for the life of us understand why this album never saw the light of day – especially since Rick was talking about it a lot when the album’s lead single “Superman” was released.

  18. John says:

    I managed to get a hold of one of the promotional copies. Would it be okay if I posted it online and shared the link here so people can download and listen to it? If it ever does get an official release, I’ll delete the link straight away.

  19. @John: Thank you so much for the streaming link. I think we may have been a little uncomfortable with putting a download link directly on here. Definitely curious to hear what this sounds like.

  20. sherlock holmes says:

    is it possible to find in CD-Audio format, the album “My red book”?

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