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Wide Awake

Wide Awake

by Joe McElderry
Whereas Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis have had little trouble making the transition from talent contest winners to chart-toppers, the male X-Factor winners have failed to make anywhere near the same impact. Steve Brookstein is an embarrassing footnote,


Whereas Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis have had little trouble making the transition from talent contest winners to chart-toppers, the male X-Factor winners have failed to make anywhere near the same impact. Steve Brookstein is an embarrassing footnote, Shayne Ward has gone AWOL since 2007's Breathless, and Leon Jackson was dropped just months after his debut spent only three weeks inside the Top 40. So last year's winner, Joe McElderry, has a pretty daunting challenge ahead of him if he's to avoid his predecessors on the pop scrapheap -- even more so due to the fact that his career didn't exactly have the most auspicious start, thanks to last year's astonishing Race Against the Machine Facebook campaign that denied him the Christmas number one. Just the uninspired choice of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," tacked on here as a bonus track, could have sounded the death knell for his career before it even began. Luckily, the rest of Wide Awake isn't so obvious. There are cover versions aplenty, but for a change they aren't the usual karaoke standards. Instead, McElderry resurrects two of the best overlooked U.K. singles from 2009, the Scissor Sisters-esque jaunty piano rock of Nerina Pallot's "Real Late Starter" and Donkeyboy's "Ambitions," a number one in Norway for an incredible 12 weeks. Only Five for Fighting's huge American hit "Superman," here given a Daniel Bedingfield-style makeover, may be known to the legions of fans who voted for him to win last December. In fact, it's the original material here that sounds more suspiciously familiar. The infectious "Feel the Fire" certainly owes more than a passing nod to Alphabeat's guilty pleasure "Fascination"; "Someone Wake Me Up" borrows the backing track of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and the chorus of Taylor Swift's "Love Story"; and "Fahrenheit" is a falsetto-led electro number reminiscent of Mika's rather divisive first album. But for someone who was praised so vehemently for his live vocals, it seems bizarre that McElderry is unrecognizable through most of the album, thanks to its rather generous use of Auto-Tune. It's a trick that works on the Hi-NRG synth pop of "Until the Stars Run Out," but less so on the more acoustic "Smile" and title track, where his previous effortlessly warm tones sound strangely robotic. Wide Awake's unashamedly pure pop sound is undoubtedly a refreshing antidote to the usual clichéd balladry of previous male talent contest winners, but its lack of originality and unnecessary studio trickery mean it often struggles to capture the same charm and personality of his X-Factor performances.

Product Details

Release Date:
Sony Uk


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joe McElderry   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Nick Coler   Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards
Henrik Janson   Conductor
Priscilla Jones   Vocals,Background Vocals
Peter Ljung   Piano,Keyboards
Keziah Jones   Vocals
Nigel Butler   Guitar,Keyboards
Esbjörn Öhrwall   Guitar
Ray Hedges   Percussion
Carol Riley   Vocals
Ulf   Conductor
Nerina Pallot   Background Vocals
Jamie Hartman   Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Charlotte Ollward   Background Vocals
Emil Heiling   Background Vocals
David Hodges   Piano
Ladonna Harley Peters   Vocals
Perry Montague-Mason   Strings
Alex Reid   Synthesizer,Guitar,Percussion
Candace Johnson   Vocals
Emma Rohan   Background Vocals
Johan Fransson   Background Vocals
Tobias Lundgren   Background Vocals
Marcus Johnson   Vocals
Damon Wilson   Drums
Johannes "Josh" Joergensen   Guitar
Tim McEwan   Vocals
Richard "Biff" Stannard   Background Vocals
Bryon Jones   Vocals
Althea Edwards   Vocals
Heard But Not Seen Choir   Choir, Chorus
Vanessa Addo-Yeboah   Vocals
Brendon Guyatt   Vocals
Tarna Johnson   Vocals
Liam Keenan   Background Vocals
Linda Borund Lindén   Background Vocals
Daniel "Obi" Klein   Percussion

Technical Credits

George Michael   Composer
Nick Coler   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Isobel Griffiths   String Conductor
Henrik Janson   String Arrangements
Sharon Vaughn   Composer
Nigel Butler   Composer,Producer,Vocal Producer
John Ondrasik   Composer
Jeremy Bose   Composer
Ash Howes   Composer,Programming,Producer,Instrumentation
Tom Nichols   Composer,Producer
Ray Hedges   Composer,Producer,Vocal Producer
Blair Daly   Composer
Neil Tucker   Engineer
Quiz   Producer,Engineer
John Harding   Composer
Andreas "Quiz" Romdhane   Programming,Instrumentation
Ulf   String Arrangements
Nerina Pallot   Composer
Josef Larossi   Programming,Instrumentation
Brian Howes   Composer
Chris DeStefano   Composer
Jamie Hartman   Composer,Programming,Engineer,Vocal Producer
David Hodges   Composer
Simen M. Eriksrud   Composer
Alex Reid   Composer,Programming,Engineer,Vocal Producer
Larossi   Producer,Engineer
Yvie Burnett   Vocal Coach
DEEKAY   Arranger,Producer
Emma Rohan   Composer
Johan Fransson   Composer
Tobias Lundgren   Composer
Tim Larsson   Composer
Martin M. Larsson   Composer,Programming,Engineer,Instrumentation
Ronan Phelan   Engineer
Richard "Biff" Stannard   Composer,Programming,Producer,Instrumentation
Matthew Shafer   Composer
Tina Harris-Pampouneau   Composer
Jon Mabe   Composer
Lars Halvor Jensen   Composer,Instrumentation
Jessica Alexander   Composer
Lawrence Johnson   Vocal Arrangements
Kent Sundberg   Composer
Cato Sundberg   Composer
Simone Larsen   Composer
Steve Malcolmson   Composer
Chris "Rockwell" Destefano   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Liam Keenan   Composer
Henrik Göranson   Composer
Ben Collier   Composer
Sam Falle   Programming
Biffco   Producer

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