boygeorgeIn our post on “Veteran acts returning in 2013”, we listed 80s pop phenomenon Culture Club as one of the acts to look out for this year. Fronted by the visually outrageous and vocally stunning Boy George, Culture Club was a force to be reckoned with worldwide in the early 80s. To celebrate their 30th year anniversary, a reunion album and tour were expected this year but things went quiet in the Culture Club camp. With over half the year over, rumors started to spread that the reunion project was shelved. This is evidently a shame since the bit of new material (i.e. “Universal Love”) that was previewed last year was brilliant. That being said, lead singer Boy George has taken fans and skeptics by surprise with new solo material. If his new single “King Of Everything” is representative of the rest of his new album “This Is What I Do” (scheduled for released on October 28, 2013), the album just might be his most commercial offering in over a decade.

Before diving into specifics of the new single “King of Everything”, it does not hurt to take a brief look at Boy George’s musical trajectory dating back to his early years with Culture Club. The sound of Culture Club was a hybrid of pop and reggae. When the group folded in the late 80s, Boy George quickly moved away from “conventional pop” and gravitated to dance music. This gave him a dedicated following that was concentrated outside of the musical mainstream. In 1998, he returned to his musical roots in a brief musical fling with his former bandmates from Culture Club on the album “Don’t Mind If I Do“. While this album retained many of the elements of vintage Culture Club, it was a significantly classier and modern affair and spawned some of the best songs Culture Club has ever recorded. After the short-lived reunion, Boy George returned to dance music and also emerged as a highly sought after DJ. The format of the music was not one that was conducive to mainstream pop radio. As a result, Boy George found himself being classified as a “star of yesteryear” despite constantly churning out music. Songs that made the crossover to mainstream pop include “Run” (a collaboration with Sash!), “Amazing Grace”, and “Happy” ( a supremely delectable collaboration with DJ Yoda).  Unfortunately, these tracks suffered from a lack of much deserved promotion (it goes without saying that we featured these songs and continue to do so on our radio station).

King Of Everything” marks a stylistic departure from anything Boy George has recorded so far. It is a rock-tinged downtempo track that sounds like something that could have been on a Robbie Williams album. Boy George sings his heart out in a sonic backdrop composed of chiming guitars, string arrangements, and a choir. The beauty and appeal of the track stem not from its simple melody but from its vocal delivery and poignant lyrics. With a deeply remorseful streak, Boy George sings from the perspective of a “fallen angel” that became a victim of his inner demons and in the process of doing so, alienated the people that loved him the most (“Used to say it was me that I was hurting”). In the chorus, he wonders if he will return to the special place he had in people’s hearts as suggested by the chorus:

What’s the word on the street?

Have I lost my crown?

Will I be king again?

What’s the word on the street?

Have I lost my crown?

Will I be king of everything?

Given some of his highly publicized troubles over the last 25 years, it appears that Boy George might be singing from the heart and from his own personal experiences (OCTOBER 21 UPDATE: In our interview with Boy George on October 18, 2013, he did confirm that the lyrics were personal but written from a third-party perspective). It undoubtedly adds a layer of brilliance to the song.

The sound of this single heralds a third chapter in the career of Boy George and by the sounds of it, it just might be the most exciting one. It definitely goes a long way in whetting the appetite for his new album “This Is What I Do”. More importantly, it will refocus attention on the singer/songwriter in Boy George as opposed to his troubled media persona. We are more than thrilled that Boy George is back with his finest solo material in two decades. Here is a full-length video clip of “King Of Everything“:

And don’t forget to DOWNLOAD the single right here!

STAR RATING: 4/5

INTERVIEW ALERT: On October 18, 2013, we had the good fortune of interviewing Boy George to discuss his new material and plans to work on new material with Culture Club in 2014. CLICK HERE to listen to the full-length interview.

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