Shayne Ward: Breathless review

Sony BMG
Release date
26th November 2007
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Eclipsed by Leona Lewis and grasping at Timberlake's coattails, Ward fails to find his niche on this forgettable sophomore album

November 2007 has seen reality TV's pop graduates reaching truly unexpected heights: Leona's carefully-timed comeback made UK chart history, Girls Aloud demonstrated remarkable longevity with their critically-acclaimed fourth studio album, and across the Atlantic a pair of former American Idol contestants (Daughtry and Carrie Underwood) scooped a whole a stack of awards for their mantelpieces. Will Shayne Ward be joining this orgy of success with his second album, Breathless?

It certainly won't be a flop - this precision-engineered collection of varied pop has already spawned a number one hit (the drippy No U Hang Up/If That's OK With You). But where his female counterpart, Leona, redeems her own collection of by-numbers balladry with that incredible voice, Shayne has little to set him apart from the crowd - his toe-curling attempts at octave-straddling falsetto (on title track Breathless), for instance, only draw attention to his strained vocal cords and some horribly uninspired lyricism.

Ultimately, what this album lacks is an edge; where Ward may expect to draw favourable comparisons with Justin Timberlake (who he shamelessly apes on U Got Me So) and George Michael, it's second-rate artists like Akon (on Melt The Snow) and Peter Andre (on If That's OK With You) who really spring to mind. With associations like this, Ward's ascension into pop's major league is unlikely to arrive anytime soon.

More to try:
Peter Andre: The Long Road Back
George Michael: Older
Akon: Trouble