Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate uncertain, is the debut 2008 eponymous album from X Factor runner-up, Rhydian. Is this album a Dream, or a total nightmare? Read on…
Firstly, I dared myself to rescue this 11-track album. It’s no secret that my opinion of X Factor albums is pretty low, and going by the discount stores and charity shops that I’ve visited in my time, these X Factor number one albums (as they usually tend to be) are mainly being kept there rather than in loving homes.
Well, let’s get this one out of the way..
First up is the debut (and final) single from this album – The Impossible Dream. It starts off with piano before Rhydian’s voice ushers this familiar song from Man Of La Mancha. His voice is perfect, but I fear that he’s been given some particularly dull songs to sing in this album, and this is just the beginning.
This is followed by To Where You Are, a song previously recorded and released a few years earlier by American artist Josh Groban. I fail to see why this new version exists, if only to cash in on the (greater) success of Josh Groban.
Third track What If is a duet with Idina Menzel, who has quite a different sounding voice to his, but this works okay in the harmonies. Still, this sounds like a dreary Disney film love ballad sequence (and just as I google her name for this review, it turns out that I was right – she’s the voice of a character from Disney’s Frozen).
This album is already a difficult listen. Please send help.
Next up is The Prayer, but if you’d left the room during any of the previous tracks and returned during this one, you’d never know it’s a different song. There’s nothing apart from those 2 seconds of silence between tracks that gives you a clue that you’re progressing through this album. This is a cover of the Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli song from 1999.
Next up is Bridge Over Troubled Water, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel‘s hit. Apparently Rhydian’s version of this song on X Factor resulted in Simon Cowell calling it ‘bloody fantastic’. To his credit, Rhydian really does take this song and build on it as his own with his sheer vocal power that’s not there in the original.
This is followed by a wholly uninteresting There Will Be A Time and Somewhere. The latter’s only redeeming feature is a break in the vocals courtesy of a children’s choir.
Next up is the Meatloaf cover Not A Dry Eye In The House, which is as you’d expect it to only ever being – undeniably Meatloafy.
This is followed by the classic I Believe, which was last sent up the charts by Robson and Jerome. He delivers the track perfectly, but doesn’t stray from the well trodden path.
Penultimate track I’m Coming Home Again signals that this album is at least coming to an end.
Final track is a cover of the classic Queen anthem Who Wants To Live Forever, and to his credit, Rhydian does at least make this song his own, but nothing can quite top Freddie’s version of it.
Where is Rhydian now?
Rhydian has managed to forge a highly successful television and theatre career, including praise from Jeff Wayne when he was cast in War Of The Worlds. He has also appeared in Grease, The Rocky Horror Show, and We Will Rock You.
He released his 5th album One Day Like This in 2014.
POP RESCUE RATING
Rhydian is no Michael Ball (and that’s a good thing), but a long career of musical theatre and soundtracks no doubt beckons him for as long as he can hold his powerful voice. I just wish that there had been enough variation on this album to make it listenable. Even the orchestras sound bored. He has an amazing voice, but the choice of songs here is utterly tedious.
It’s unlikely that I will ever willingly listen to another Rhydian song.
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 1 / 5
- 2008 UK CHART POSITION: #3, certified Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.