Will Manning

October 22, 2009, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Artist Blogs | Tags: , , , , ,

I’m loving these ‘Making of’ videos of Mr Hudson, gives a great insight!



After hearing Zane Lowe have the first play of “Supernova” on Radio 1 back in May this year I knew we were in for a treat with the second studio album from Mr Hudson and I can safely say – I wasn’t wrong.

After huge demand and interest from featuring on and also co-producing tracks on Kanye’s “808’s & Heartbreaks” it was time for Mr Hudson to reap the success for themselves thus bringing the new album “Straight No Chaser” into the World.

The opener for the album is the track “Supernova” – the perfect way to kick the album off with it’s 120 bpm setting the pace nicely along with the mellow synths and hard hitting snare. Kanye West has his guest verse on this which compliments the track well with a helping hand from his good friend auto tune (something which occurs in a fair few songs from Hudson alone on the album) ‘And i feel like taking off.’

Moving into track two and we have the latest single “White Lies.” For me this is a track which I wish I liked but I just can’t. It’s depressing tone just doesn’t sit well with me, add a whiney hook to the list and you get a pretty bad song but that’s just me. I do however think the song is well written lyrically.

“Knew We Were Trouble” is track three. Straight off from the first vocal this track carries the influences of David Bowie and the like with an edgy pop twist accompanied by solid production and the repetitive keyboard chords in the background. The hook ‘I just knew we were trouble when we first met,’ is catchy and delivered in a convincing style from lead singer Ben Hudson.

The track which follows is where the album get’s its name, “Straight No Chaser” is a brilliant song. It has auto tune but it also has great lyrics (to be honest, this is true throughout the album) again along with top class production and a catchy hook which is overlayed with a selection of chord harmonies and outer space sounding synths.

Track five is “Learning To Live.” This track again shows the David Bowie, The Police and Prince influences. The snare is something which really gets me, it sounds like its straight out of the 70’s from an electric drum pad and has that really tight hitting sound. Add in a few guitar strums and Ben singing about learning to live without a girl in his life anymore and you have got a really great record.

“Instant Messenger” is a more mellow and subdued song on the album. It talks on trying to send messages to someone but them being blurred and corrupt via the media (gossip, paparazzi etc). The talk on ‘sending a text’ as a message is a metaphor for trying to talk to someone straight and say what you want to say without people from the outside interfering. A brilliant message of how real life is for a celebrity in these days.

Mr Hudson moves us onto the track “There Will Be Tears.” I wish I could describe the production on this track easily, I will try. It’s very, very minimalist and has a very silent buzz in the background whilst the track is driven by a beat which sounds like it has been made through the use of a glockenspiel and a few other minimalist techniques. A very clever concept.

“Stiff Upper Lip” is possibly my favourite track on the whole album, i even chose it as this weeks “Don’t Sleep on This” on episode 3. Hudson say’s ‘We’ve never been as fuc*ed as this’ and how he argues like kids with a partner due to him not being able to keep a ‘stiff upper lip no more.’ This track again has a very minimalist sound and has the distinctive sounds of a banjo and guitar leading the track.

The name of the famous New York park “Central Park” is the name of track nine. I’ve said this for many of the tracks on the album but again the production is thin layered and it sounds better for it as the vocals from Ben can be shown off to their full potential and fully appreciated. The track features guest vocals from Joy Joesph which just sound amazing alongside Ben.

“Anyone But Him” features Kanye West with production from him too and so this track has a very slight Hip Hop edge but made within the Mr Hudson sounds which Kanye has taken on.

Kid Cudi features on “Everything Is Broken.” Ben repeats the lyrics ‘I was just your token, everything is broken, broken’ – the lyrics talk on how a man has been “taken for a ride” and used. A very good track, possibly even in my top 5 from the album.

Track twelve is “Lift Your Head” which is about living life to its fullest and forgetting the past. Ben say’s ‘please lift your head from your hands, tomorrow is another day’ – so simple yet so effective for a hook plus with strong female backing harmonies to accompany Ben making it sound even stronger. Another great track.

“Time” is about making the most of life and the situations which come along with it. The track discusses settling down and having a family and mainly revolves around a relationship and finding the time for everything they wish to achieve during their life times. I hate to sound repetitive but I can’t think of any other words to describe half of the tracks on the album aside from “great” and “amazing” – they really are just that, this being no acception. Plus the piano on this is beautiful.

Overall this album is amazing (forgive me). The production is sophisticated and very clever as well as the lyrics  and concepts, the topics are mainly based around love, loss and life journeys and in a way it’s a very inspirational listen, you just need to listen closey. To really appreciate this album I would say do exactly what I did whilst writing this review – sit in a quiet room, dim the lights, listen late at night, set it to a high volume and then feel inspired. This album is a true piece of art.

Words by me.