Review: Jack Foley
RICHARD X is the producing supremo who really helped to put The
Sugababes and Liberty X on the pop map.
Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing is probably
a mute point; but the X Factor certainly helped to bring Sugababes
to the XFM crowd (it made the alternative radio station's playlist),
while also serving to deliver the girl band one of their biggest,
and most universally-friendly hits to date.
And yet the formula for success seems fairly simple - take an
80s classic, especially if it contains the electro-pop sound of
the moment, add some R'n'B (another popular music genre at the
moment) and bring in an emerging pop star to lend it a contemporary
Stripped bare, Freak Like Me is nothing more than a Gary
Numan sample, spliced with an Adina Howard tune, made all the
more sassy with the honeysweet vocals of the Sugababes, while
Being Nobody repeated the trick, this time using Liberty
X and fusing the Human League with Chaka Khan.
The result is most certainly mainstream-based, but nowhere near
as cheesy, or as depressing, as the thought of it might seem.
Take his latest single, Finest Dreams, which uses the
R&B vocals of Kelis to suitably sultry effect, or the equally
lively You Used To, featuring Javine, which actually makes
pop worth listening to, for a change.
Maybe it's the fusion of current chart trends with something
the more discerning listener can have fun with picking out that
makes the X Factor so compulsive, but there is an undeniable allure
to it, which transcends the genre it could so easily have been
Other highlights on the long-player include the forceful Just
Friends, which pokes fun at the current state of the dating
game, featuring Norwegian chanteuse Annie, or the simple but effective
Walk On By makeover, which features Flying Lizards singer,
Deborah Evans-Stickland performing a droll spoken cover of the
In concept, it really shouldn't work; but it does.
Hell, even Jarvis Cocker sounds terrific, while lending his trademark
offbeat vocals to Mazzy Star's memorable Fade Into You.
Of course, by opting to hang out in the cash-friendly sanctuary
of the pop world, Richard X never comes close to the brilliance
of, say, William Orbit or Fatboy Slim, but, as the new kid on
the block, he certainly makes you sit up and take notice - and
you won't mind if you find yourself dancing to it.
For now, X most definitely marks the spot.
2. Being Nobody
3. Rock Jacket
4. You Used To
5. Just Friends
8. Walk On By
10. Finest Dreams
11. You (Better Let Me Love You X 4) Tonight
12. Mark One
13. Freak Like Me (We Don't Give A Damn Mix)
14. Into You