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Craig David - Trust Me

Craig David, Trust Me

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

CRAIG David remains one of the UK’s most successful singer-songwriters, having won three Ivor Novello Awards, four MOBOs and two MTV Europe Awards. It’s not always easy to see why.

New album Trust Me – his first in two years and fourth in total – is a curious blend of mainstream R’n‘B-influenced chart fillers and slightly more ambitious material that ultimately frustrates more than it impresses. The main problem is that it’s so slickly produced that it sometimes forgets to really engage on an emotional level.

Opening song and recent single Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance) is a classic case in point. Built around a cynical sample of David Bowie’s classic Let’s Dance, it’s a fairly generic Craig David offering that overflows with his smooth vocal style that also tosses in that teasing Bowie sample. Rather than exciting or emerging as anything really captivating, it merely succeeds in making you want to hear the original in its entirety. Good for Bowie, bad for Craig.

6 Of 1 Thing falls into the same kind of trap. Recorded in Havana, Cuba, with producer Martin Terefe, it’s supposed to emphasise how Cuban musical culture has influenced his new work – but aside from the odd Latin American percussion section, it remains a resolutely poppy record that strains to stray too far from the established Craig David format. There’s a nagging sense this could have been a lot better.

Friday Night rallies hopes briefly, emerging as a genuinely easy listen that’s certainly influenced by the likes of Stevie Wonder and co, and there’s a funky, Motown vibe surrounding the chorus of Awkward that also benefits from the presence of “a female west London star-to-be”.

But the likes of Just A Reminder, Officially Yours and Kinda Girl For Me, which employs more samples of better tracks, merely flirt with egotistic pretentiousness and do Craig David very few favours. Indeed, the album doesn’t really come close to impressing again until Top Of The Hill, the penultimate track, that combines both a moving story and some excellent instrumentation (that’s more raw and less slick than usual).

But any goodwill is largely extinguished immediately afterwards by This Is The Girl, the type of straightforward offering that finds the singer on autopilot. The overall result is something that’s not really worth putting any of your trust in.

Download picks: Friday Night, Awkward, Top Of The Hill

Track listing:

  1. Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance)
  2. 6 Of 1 Thing
  3. Friday Night
  4. Awkward
  5. Just A Reminder
  6. Officially Yours
  7. Kinda Girl For Me
  8. She’s On Fire
  9. Don’t Play With Our Love
  10. Top Of The Hill
  11. This Is The Girl