Simon Webbe: Smile

review webbe x1 cong

Webbe is an English singer-songwriter, best known as a member of Blue, with whom he sold 15 million records. This is his third solo album. He’s done other stuff: appeared in Sister Act the musical at the London Palladium, represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest (came 11th) and managed some bands we’ve never heard of.

This is ok. It’s just about RnB — he’s got a nice soulful voice, the music manages to avoid being that terrible pop fodder that X Factor Got No Talent encourages — but it’s very easy on the ear balladry.

On the plus side, he co-writes most of the songs with only one or two people; it’s not like he just pays a team to produce beats, does the vocals and goes home again. He’s a proper songwriter, so kudos for that.

The opener is Nothing Without You, written for his fiancé Ayshen Kemal: not a new sentiment and not a new style of song-writing, but plenty of people like this kind of pleasant loved-up pop.

Good luck to him — all of Blue’s former members bar one (Lee Ryan) have gone bankrupt and seem to have suffered from alcoholism/depression, so boyband life is not the beer and circuses it seems to be. We quite like the reggae-tinged Love Your Woman and Please Don’t Let Me Go, possibly the album’s strongest song.

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