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Professor Green - Growing Up In Public (Review)

Professor Green, Growing Up In Public

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

PROFESSOR Green’s thid album is one that has stemmed from a great deal of adversity (he got hit by a car and was forced to postpone a recent tour). It’s also an album, like its name suggests, that aims to display a greater maturity.

The result is, however, only intermittently engaging. The sound remains entrenched in the singer’s pop-soaked brand of drum n bass, with the odd bit of rap thrown in. And it also boasts some high profile collaborations.

But it struggles to throw up too many songs that sound either different from a lot of other material on the mainstream, or which stop you in your tracks and force you to take notice. At best, the songs here are of the guilty pleasure, disposable variety – and that’s in spite of the hard-hitting nature of some of the lyrics.

Album opener I Need Church, for instance, is a lament at the state of the world and its turning away from religion that is propelled by rugged guitar riffs and big beats. But it kind of needed to pack a bigger punch.

Indeed, it’s not until track three that the album really delivers a genuinely strong moment, with Tori Kelly lending support to the heart-on-sleeve confessional Lullaby. The song itself chronicles Green’s battle against depression and references his own father’s suicide, while laying down some impressive piano and drum beats, as well as a suitably soulful/emotional vocal from Kelly over the catchy chorus.

Little Secrets, the track that follows, also lays bear a volatile relationship over the kind of beats that UNKLE might employ, and a chorus that finds Mr Probz dropping a nicely R’n‘B set of vocals. It’s another highlight thanks in no small part to that chorus. But even then, there’s a slightly generic quality to it (something of Rudimental mixed with Avicii).

Among the disappointments, meanwhile, are tracks like Dead Man’s Shoes and the Rizzle Kicks featuring Name In Lights, both of which display qualities that are too laddish and immature and which bely the supposedly more serious side of Green’s songwriting. They wash over you quickly and don’t require revisiting.

And therein lies the biggest problem with the album – for every standout, such as Lullaby or the hold your head in shame lament that is Fast Life, there’s a duff moment waiting in the wings, with even title track Growing Up In Public drawing the album to an underwhelming close.

Professor Green has plenty of strengths in his armoury when he gets it right; he just needs to play to them a little more and continue maturing a little more.

Download picks: Lullaby, Little Secrets, Fast Life

Track listing:

  1. I Need Church [Explicit]
  2. Dead Man’s Shoes [feat. James Craise] [Explicit]
  3. Lullaby [feat. Tori Kelly] [Explicit]
  4. Little Secrets [feat. Mr. Probz]
  5. Name In Lights [feat. Rizzle Kicks] [Explicit]
  6. Fast Life [Explicit]
  7. Can’t Dance Without You [feat. Whinnie Williams] [Explicit]
  8. Not Your Man [feat. Thabo] [Explicit]
  9. In The Shadow Of The Sun
  10. Growing Up In Public [Explicit]