Today’s POP RESCUE is the 2003 second album ‘Being Somebody‘ by 5-piece English-Irish pop group, Liberty X. Is this album being something, or should it be x-pelled from your collection? Read on…
This 17 track (although only 16 are noted on the artwork) opens with a hyped up boxing match-esque Intro (Being Somebody), loaded with brass as they’re introduced. It’s only 20 seconds, but it’s a nice big intro.
That slides effortlessly into Jumpin’, the album’s second single. The synths and acoustic guitars works well against the shuffling snare. The vocals sit like a Destiny’s Child song, and are loaded with vocal harmonies – it’s wonderfully catchy, thanks to a great chorus, a mock siren sound, and a slappy bass. This track rightly gave them a hit, and it peaked at #6 in the UK.
This is followed by the lead single Being Nobody, a collaboration with Richard X. This gave the group a #3 hit in March 2003, and it is a wonderfully catchy mash-up of Being Boiled by The Human League and Ain’t Nobody by Rufus and Chaka Khan. Here, Liberty X sound phenomenal vocally, and the song flows effortlessly, backed by some slick production and great sounds. This really deserved a #1 spot.
By contrast, we’re gently eased into the soft ballad Everybody Cries. This track acted as the album’s 3rd and final single. Sadly it missed out on the UK top 10, getting stuck at #13. This sees the group, who had been much more successful with the faster dance tracks, take on a strings-laden downbeat ballad that stomps all over the kind of territory known as belonging to All Saints. It shows off the vocal range perfectly, showing that Liberty X really can deliver some beautiful harmonies in this heartfelt song. A burst of strings turns up the heartstrings towards the end, and it builds wonderfully.
Watcha Doin’ Tonight opens with a sort of motor revving (intended to be the name-dropped Harley-Davidson) before a hard beat drops in and ‘it’s time to ride‘. We’re treated to some big beats and catchy lyrical repetition but the mix seems to swallow some of the lyrics and you can hear them singing but quite what they’re singing about, it’s hard to tell. The mid-section seems a bit out of place, but it’s brief and they return to the chorus.
Then it’s The Poet, which is led by a gently meandering piano. Then, after someone reveals that they ‘caught you doin’ a de Bergerac‘, the sound seems to swell, and the vocal harmonies return, giving the guys and girls plenty of time to show off their voices. It’s another slow downbeat song, but it’s quite nice sounding.
That’s followed by I’ll Be Remembering. This is a plodding mid-tempo song, with a heavy R&B beat, sounding like it might have fallen out of the wheelbarrow of songs sent to a Blue recording session. The ladies shine here with waves of vocal harmonies, but it’s not particularly an interesting song. This song was going to be a single, but when the group’s record contract was cancelled that put an end to that (thankfully).
The Last Goodbye is next, and we’re treated to some more guitar and soft notes. Here the ladies mostly have the mic, and they manage to weave in solos and harmonies with great expertise against this light shuffling R&B love song. It’s a nice sounding song.
After that we’re given some slightly menacing guitars flanked by bleeping synths of Let Go. Here the ladies and lads seem to be duelling. There’s definitely a darker tone here, but the guitars don’t get to roar very loud – they have a go in the chorus, but it’s still a bit muted.
Forever follows that and a beautiful acoustic guitar leads us in as a gentle tambourine tap joins in. Lots of heartfelt ‘woaah yeah‘ and breathy slow vocals dominate this simple sounding song. The percussion on this song is beautiful and soft, and that fits perfectly alongside these loved up vocals.
Then it’s Close Your Eyes, and this feels like a return to the dancier songs. There’s a nice little guitar(?) riff over another soft R&B beat in the verses as the group take their turns on the microphone. This track would have made a really nice song – although reminiscent of Just A Little from their debut album. Still, if the record ain’t broke…
I Just Wanna is next, and the percussion is back, just in time for some breathy vocals and fat synths. Again, I’m reminded of Destiny’s Child tracks of the same era, but there’s just enough with the vocal harmonies and piano to turn it away and safely into the realms of Liberty X. There’s a really nice bridge section as the track builds up for the climax, which seems to find and unleash a roaring electric guitar.
Impossible is after that, and this has some wonderful building synth strings, wafting guitar riffs, set over a simple beat, with big ballad vocals. It works tremendously well as a duet but whichever of the ladies who takes the lead here (sorry, it isn’t clear) does a wonderful job.
Next is Take Me Home, and this again has some wonderful upbeat percussion and pseudo-spanish guitar. Here the vocal layers work a treat again, but it’s truly the guitar and percussion that do the heavy lifting here – it is loaded with both.
Acoustic guitars return for the downbeat Story Of My Life. I think it’s Michelle on the vocals, and she does a fantastic job as the song evolves. A simple beat, a heavy bass, and vocal harmonies all drop in seamlessly as the song builds.
That’s followed by Maybe, and I don’t think you’ll be ready for this song. The piano, the heart-torn vocals, and the vocal harmonies are quite simply beautiful. A wonderful track.
The album closes with surprise song Where Do We Go (From Here) and this lifts us back up to nice up-beat songs that would sit well amongst their hits. Sadly it didn’t make it as a single, but it’s a nice bright and catchy ending to their album and musically and vocally sounds great.
Over all, this album is a pleasant surprise of great vocals and slick production, but lacking a bit in variance.
From the artwork, this is a 16 track CD, but then it turns out to be 17 tracks long, which makes for a very long album to work through. Inevitably it suffers a bit from similar sounding songs stylistically, but the presence of the big hitters and some absolutely stunning performances softens this blow.
Leading the way in the highlights are of course Jumpin’, and Being Nobody, but also the richness of Everybody Cries and the beautiful Maybe work a treat here as some of the best songs, with Close Your Eyes very closely behind it. There are a few duller points, and these are led by I’ll Be Remembering, Let Go, and Watcha Doin’ Tonight which feel a bit filler-y.
A few more upbeat dance bangers, and shorter run time would have made this a more palatable 5 star album, otherwise it is a really solid performance from the group.
- POP RESCUE 2023 RATING: 4 / 5
- 2003 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #12, certified Gold by the BPI.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Mind store.