Rick Astley – “My Red Book”: Album Review
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.
When 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:
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”
“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…
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?!
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:
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.
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!
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.
In case you did not pick up on this earlier, the blog you are reading is affiliated with Radio Creme Brulee – an online radio station that features an eclectic mix of current pop and rock music from both sides of the Atlantic alongside hits, forgotten gems, and rarities from the last three decades. The music of Rick Astley (both old and new) is a regular staple on our station. Alongside newer artists, we also play plenty of newer music by bands that rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s. Noteworthy examples include Simply Red, Wet Wet Wet, Tears For Fears, Suede, The Corrs, Dubstar, Duran Duran, Camouflage, Spandau Ballet, INXS, Depeche Mode, Johnny Hates Jazz, George Michael, and Culture Club.
Give us a spin when you get a chance.
We just might become your alternative of choice!