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N-Dubz - Against All Odds

N-dubz, Against All Odds

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

N-DUBZ have been credited by the NME as having “the voice of youth”, while their PR proudly states that they’ve had “an unprecedented impact on modern British youth culture”. I’m not sure why.

Listening to their latest album, Against All Odds, it’s a pretty basic pop record that mixes in elements of hip-hop, grime and R’n‘B as well as the odd songwriting tip from Gary Barlow.

And while there are some radio-friendly ear-catchers, courtesy of notable collaborations with the likes of Mr Hudson and Chipmunk, there’s nothing really special to grab the attention. If anything, there’s more to offend anyone with a more mature sensibility.

On tracks like Shoulda Put Something On and Playing With Fire they display a sound and technique not dissimilar to acts like Black Eyed Peas (who also fuse styles) and are at their most appealing.

But there are onerous moments when they’re positive impact on youth culture really has to be called into question… much like their grasp of proper English!

Tracks like Duku Man are ugly grime heavy offerings that pretty much play to the darker, less appealing side of modern youth and/or hoodie culture, complete with juvenile references to farts, poos and shagging other men unless they love him. It’s deplorable songwriting really.

Likewise, Suck Yourself… which drops a decent beat and synth backing but becomes a complete turn-off lyrically. The F-word heavy language is also something not to be proud of for an LP aimed almost squarely at a below 20 listener-base.

Incredibly, Gary Barlow helps out with songwriting duties on No One Knows and the sound that results couldn’t be further from what Take That fans might have expected. It’s synth-charged, pretty urgent and a mix of rap and sung chorus. But there’s a keener sense of melody that owes much to Barlow’s presence.

But while N-Dubz certainly have their ear on current youth trends (Facebook is repeatedly referenced, for instance) and can concoct a decent melody within their songwriting, there’s a sneaking suspicion that they’re happiest keeping it urban and more R’n‘B/Hip-hop influenced. Collaborations with the likes of Chipmunk, Tinchy Stryder and Nivo merely serve to confirm this.

The result may be being hailed as the winter soundtrack for today’s youth in some quarters, but it’s a mostly forgettable listen that doesn’t have anywhere near as much importance as it thinks it does.

Download picks: Playing With Fire, Shoulda Put Something On, No One Knows, Comfortable

Track listing:

  1. Against All Odds
  2. I Need You
  3. Playing With Fire – N-Dubz & Mr Hudson
  4. Say It’s Over
  5. Na Na – N-Dubz & Wiley
  6. Shoulda Put Something On
  7. Duku Man Skit – N-Dubz & Fearless
  8. I Don’t Wanna Go To Sleep
  9. Suck Yourself – N-Dubz & Chipmunk
  10. No One Knows
  11. Number One [N-Dubz version]
  12. Comfortable
  13. Let Me Be – N-Dubz & Nivo
  14. Against All Odds

  1. the album gives up what we want as fans and is better than the debut all fans love it so in the words of dappy, suck yourself.

    Helen    Nov 21    #