Posts Tagged ‘i’m a celebrity’

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“This is my new single, ‘Hey Kid’, which is out on Monday. Please buy it or I’ll get dropped!”

September 27, 2008

The third part of 1998: Revisited is on it’s way soon, but for now it’s time for our first ever Retro Album Review, and an absolute classic from two years ago…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Basics:

ARTIST: Matt Willis

ALBUM: Don’t Let It Go To Waste

LABEL: Mercury

RELEASED: 20th November 2006

HIGHEST UK ALBUM CHART POSTION: #67

CERTIFICATION: Gold (100,000 copies+)

PRODUCER(S): The Collective/Jason Perry/Julian Emery

RECORDED: August 2005 – January 2006

SINGLES: Up All Night (UK #7, May 2006), Hey Kid (UK #11, September 2006), Don’t Let It Go To Waste (UK #17, November 2006)

 

 

A year on from Busted’s much publicized and sudden announcement of a split, the former members of the chart topping, BRIT award winning punk pop trio were all experiencing various degrees of success, the majority of them being middling – main quitee Charlie Simpson was still struggling for recognition with post-hardcore outfit Fightstar, while the band’s main pensmith James Bourne appeared to be heading the same way Gary Barlow went after Take That when his new band Son of Dork, who despite an initial burst of success with two top 10 hits and a gold album, were far from experiencing the “Ticket Outta Loserville” their debut single claimed and instead remained the butt of the music industry’s jokes long after their demise.

It did therefore seem as if all hopes were resting on Matt Willis to be the most successful solo venture of Busted. Largely because A) he was the last one to do it, and B) he was more often than not referred to as the band’s most likeable member whilst James flounced about with a weird Transatlantic twang talking about the brilliance of Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and how much he wanted a DeLorean and Charlie just seemed to stand there, not saying much and looking moody with his infamous caterpillar-esque eyebrows.

 

Though his solo debut didn’t surface until nearly 18 months after the split, in some ways it was regarded by many of it’s fans as a smart move. Matt could have rather easily come out off the back of the split, it has to be said, with the kind of album that James did with Son of Dork on “Welcome to Loserville”, which was basically an unsuccessful hybrid of Busted had they made a third album and Bowling For Soup/New Found Glory, but rather luckily for us, he didn’t. In a weird way, the time spent in between the split and releasing his debut solo offering was to be what A) influenced it and B) made it such an interesting, ground breaking pop album.

Out of all of Busted, Matt was the one that it appeared to hit the worst. In an interview for Popjustice in May 2006, he recounted of his experiences of how he went into rehab for drinking problems as he was “upsetting everyone…and before I knew it…I was there, actually being driven to the gates, and I was like ‘S***, I instantly regret this decision! I wish I hadn’t said that!'” Needless to say, it was the metaphorical kick up the butt that he needed to get out there and prove his worth as a solo artist. Jetting out to Ireland’s famous Grouse Lodge studios at the start of summer 2005, he began recording and writing a “kind of mad, Van Halen “Jump” type stadium pop album” with former “A” frontman Jason Perry’s writing team The Collective, who’d also go on to co-write and produce hit albums and singles for Matt’s good friends McFly as well as Andrea Corr and Sugababes.

Indeed, his tales of drunken upsets and failed attempts at rehab made for some of the most wildly incongrous songs on the album – on “Luxury” for example, he talks about how “They tell me I’m angry/Don’t need their bull**** therapy/Don’t need no excuse/I’ve got my own issues” and on “Up All Night”, he talks of his confusion of the “names to all the faces of the places I’ve been going lately”. Angry, vitriolic and full of energy, the critics were quick to take their hat off to Matt’s album, praising it’s maturity and inventiveness. So why then, did it all go wrong commercially for an album that was a hit with the critics? Well, even we’re not quite sure to this very day viewers. Either way, despite a strong top 10 start with “Up All Night” (video above), when the follow up and single that was initially planned to be his debut, “Hey Kid” could only scrape to #11 in September 2006, penny counters at his record label, Mercury, made the imbecilic move of pushing the album’s release back until November, possibly as some sort of muted reaction to Matt’s offhand comment before performing the track at V Festival that summer.

As a kind of attempt to salvage interest further for the album, Matt was to end up appearing on (and then winning) that year’s series of “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!”, but it ultimately didn’t work for either single or album of the same name. “No one cares about my music sadly,” he said at the time. “The whole point of me going on there was to drum up interest for my music, but all everyone wants to talk about is what my Buschtucker trial was like.” Criminally, Matt was then dropped a year later and is now, after marrying long time other half and MTV VJ Emma Griffiths, finding steady work as a presenter on various shows for UK satellite channel ITV2.

Our advice if you happen upon this album in a bargain bin somewhere then viewers? Get it. Never has an album given such an autobiographical snapshot of a popstar’s life that ultimately makes it personal as much as it is captivating. Even though he’s vowed never to go solo again, Matt should be congratulated on the music he made in his time as a solo artist.

Popcomments rating: 9.7 out of 10.

Download: “Up All Night”, “Hey Kid”, “Luxury”, “Who You Gonna Run To”.