Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate uncertain, is the 1999 debut album Good Times from British former-Coronation Street actor, and singer, Adam Rickitt. Will this album be right up your Street, or is it like a dose of bad Breath? Read on…
This 12 track CD opens with lead hit single I Breathe Again, opening with the heavy sexualised breathing sounds of Adam as a beat thumps away. Synths drop in, making me think about singing Dr Alban’s It’s My Life over the top… but no, Adam’s needy croaky pop vocals take over as the song gallops along. It’s a thoroughly catchy little pop song, and quite frankly could have been recorded by, and made a hit, by nearly any young pop star, male or female. This up-tempo track, along with it’s is-he-naked-or-not video, gave him a #5 UK hit single, and rightly so. We’re off to a great start, and I bet the studio out-takes were hilarious.
Second single Everything My Heart Desires follows this, and this reminds me of something that you might find on a Sean Maguire album. The track takes a slower tempo from the previous, and this allows Adam to show off a contrasting vocal ability. The track gently shifts along, courtesy of some light drum machine beats, and a really nice melody. The chorus works well, and over all it’s a nice contrasting follow-up. The breakdown works really nicely. The track doesn’t match the heart-throb energy of I Breathe Again, and perhaps that’s why it peaked at #15 in the UK chart.
Titular track Good Times is next, and this sees Howard Donald (of Take That) on sole writing duties. We’re treated to congas, wah-wah, and a clearly disco-inspired sound, punctuated with synth strings and brass stabs. I could easily imagine this being recorded by S Club 7, but it works alright here with Adam. The song is a really nice little track.
I Can’t Live Without Your Love follows this and we’re into slow love song territory, complete with creaky vocals. Here, Adam sings at a higher register, and he really could be a completely different artist from the three earlier songs. He puts in a good performance on what is essentially a dull song.
That’s followed by You Make Me Believe In Love which returns us to thumping bass drums and gurgling synths. The track is quite simple but bounces along nicely. Adam gets a couple of opportunities to stray from the main melody with his vocals towards the end. Again, another nice little pop song, and the chorus feels catchy after a few repeats.
Next it’s Time Is On Our Side, which opens like a song that once belonged to Tina Cousins. Instead, Adam has a slightly lower register to deal with in the verses, whilst the chorus are just a little unusual to make them comfortably sing-a-long. The thumping bass/bass drum keeps things bouncing along though, and the inclusion of the uncredited Spanish-sounding guitar is nice, as is the key change towards the end. Despite its five writers (one of which is Adam), it doesn’t feel ever so complete.
The Best Thing follows that, truncated to Best Thing when released as the album’s third single. The track sounds like the bridge between Deuce, D:Ream, and S Club 7, which is unsurprising given the the co-writers Jewels and Stone worked with S Club too. The disco sound returns over a thumping beat and this feels like a natural successor to I Breathe Again, complete with some brief almost-Cher I Believe (from the previous year) auto-tune vocal effects. However, it failed to draw quite as much success though, and gave him his final charting single, peaking at #25.
Next up is Hold On To Our Love, which after some vocal samples, bursts into a nice up-tempo pop song. The song gives Howard Donald a second writing credit here, alongside Richard Darbyshire of Living In A Box. This pop royalty seems to been a good combination, as we’re treated here to a jolly little pop song. Adam’s vocals are a bit weaker here though, which lets it down a bit.
Give Me Your Heart follows this opening with a gently strummed guitar and soft percussive beat. Adam’s lighter heartfelt vocals are back, over a swirl of bleeping synths and a really nice set of backing vocalist harmonies. It does have a whiff of a PWL late-80s album-only track. Sadly, Adam’s vocals just aren’t well placed here, and it doesn’t worth very well.
An electric piano lures us into Heart And Soul, aided by some wah-wah guitar and yet more disco tropes. There are some very close musical moments shared with The Jacksons’ hit Can You Feel It?. Musically it sounds nice though. Again, I’m imagining S Club 7 making light work of this, but Adam does at least inject some more energy into this song and the end result is a great disco pop song.
Penultimate track Touch Me is next and for a moment, based on the female vocalist bursting in with ‘C’mon and touch me!’ you can imagine that this is a previously unknown hit from Livin’ Joy featuring Adam Rickitt… it isn’t though, and soon Adam is there on the mic. The female vocalist (backing vocalist Dawn Topham, I assume) returns regularly for that line, and it sits well alongside Adam. It definitely feels quite eurodance, and it’s quite catchy long before it fades away.
The album closes with Take You High, which bursts in with beats and a flurry of vocal samples. This is a great up-tempo song, again loaded with gurgling beats and swirling strings. Adam’s vocals get to show off a fair amount in auto-tune as well as in the chorus, and he sounds quite good here. Todd Terry is on the remix duty here, and based on the beat you can just about imagine mixing this song into Missing by Everything But The Girl. Okay, only just.
Over all, this album has some really nice dance pop moments. Adam’s vocals inject energy into several tracks here with the highlight inevitably being I Breathe Again. The other two singles along with Good Times, Heart And Soul, Touch Me, and Take You High all work well, and the disco/pop/dance approach works well in the main.
When the album leans towards ballads, it tends to stumble across mundane or just odd instead. The low points are very much I Can’t Live Without Your Love, Time Is On Our Side, and Give Me Your Love, with Adam’s vocals either not really suiting the track, or the track just simply being boring.
Whilst Adam did write some of the tracks here, and there is some pop star royalty involved, at times it sounds like some of these tracks were available for whoever turned up in the studio that day.
- POP RESCUE 2021 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1999 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #41
- POP RESCUE COST: 99p from a Discogs.com seller.