Sheridan The Album
(East West Records)
She has had her ups and downs in recent years, but evidently the time is right for her own musical efforts to be heard. I say ‘own’ but the inclusions overall do point to something of a quandary..do we emphasise her ability to put a well-known song over well with no great risks taken OR do we spotlight her own individual character? It’s unresolved by this collection, which and rather falls between two stools. As to the appeal of each cut, let us press ‘Play’…
A rendition of Gnarls Barkley hit Crazy with a moody intro makes quite a good lead track and Smith imbues the lyric with a slight edge. The arrangement settles into a chug a tad too early and the mood is then diluted. The pinched-harmonic guitar squeals would be more at home on a MeatLoaf recording.
Anyone Who Had A Heart follows and we are jolted into the world of MOR. To Sheridan’s credit she does not pile on the angst but the arrangement plays safe and casts no shadow on the Cilla Black version. I suppose this nods to her TV role as Black which garnered some praise. The drummer’s grip on this one is admirable, btw. City Of Stars is up next and patters along with a piano dead centre. The melody has a continental tinge and Smith sings with great control in what sounds like a perfect key. Of all songs included here, this one is the most haunting. It reminds me of Petula Clark, no bad thing.
Mad About The Boy is the Noel Coward chestnut in a West End quasi-Cockney spoken delivery at first, before Smith wallows in the sly melody as if it was a bubble bath. So Radio 2 it hurts ! Then we get I Smell A Rat which is a lost Lieber & Stoller song and here in a 50s beaty setting, befitting a London or Broadway stage show..or crappy Elvis Presley film. The busy arrangement has blaring horns, spiky electric guitar, with Smith throwing her all into the whole shebang.
Dinner At Eight is steady-tempo’d ballad from the pen of Rufus Wainwright. The chordal progression is almost hymnal. Probably a good inclusion for a stage performance but it feels a bit lightweight in this incarnation, to be frank. Superstar
Is from Leon Russell, co-writing with Delaney and Bonnie back in the day. It is a beautiful almost regal tune and Smith makes the best of it, doubtless the lyric resonates with her. A warm Hammond prominent is in the mix and adds to its impact. This one has the best singing on the collection. Hurt is a doowop song that makes me think of Lesley Gore, the Queen Of Sulk. The 50s jukebox sound is replicated. At least it’s not a Patsy Cline number!
Addicted To Love was written by my late friend Robert Palmer and it paid for his drive in Switzerland when Tina Turner recorded it. Weird Al Yankovic did a spoof of it as Addicted to Spuds and Robert let him do an audio track but not a video. “Thing is, Pete – every time I then did the song I would have had dancing bloody potatoes in my head !” Here, Smith goes for an easy-rolling edition with a fat horn sound and she sings it well with a bit of herself in there. My Man next and we are back at a musical type place, vocal and piano with strings seeping in just so. Pleasant enough.
For Forever again sounds like a hit from a musical and yes her voice suits this material. Dear Evan Hansen, I think. And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going is this century’s I Will Always Love You. Just hear the intro and your eyes roll upwards, six minutes of your life you’ll never get back. Even a good performance can’t compensate for the predictable choice.
So some fine renditions on here but the selections lurch from style to style without settling into a comfortable whole. The artwork and design is top-notch btw with some great images of this beautiful star.
You can watch the official lyric video for ‘City Of Stars’ in this article.
Sheridan Smith’s debut album ‘Sheridan The Album’ is out now on East West Records.
To support the album release Sheridan Smith will embark on a nine-date April 2018 UK Tour entitled ‘Sheridan In Concert’. The tour will visit the following venues:
Tuesday 10th April 2018 – Sage, Gateshead, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2a3RVJk
Friday 13th April 2018 – Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2nabbqP
Monday 16th April 2018 – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2a1mKN5
Tuesday 17th April 2018 – Opera House, Blackpool, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2d6XiUb
Thursday 19th April 2018 – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2kNM1yH
Sunday 22nd April 2018 – Theatre Royal, Norwich, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2oyHAKr
Tuesday 24th April 2018 – Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2p2IG2t
Thursday 26th April 2018 – Playhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2BXOgqu
Sunday 29th April 2018 – Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2C0hogQ