With the top five artists in this year’s BBC Sound Of poll now the proud owners of debut albums, all of which are on store shelves (well, once Jamie Woon’s Mirrorwriting comes out on Monday), I figure it’s time to pass a little judgement – literally just a little judgement – on what they’ve produced.
Sound of 2011 #1: Jessie J, Who You Are
In a line: Hugely disappointing, all-over-the-shop set of stylistically over-diverse (but cynically box-ticking) fare from an artist whose best work is, one hopes for her sake, still to come into focus – as on this evidence, she’s no more than an easily led puppet for the backroom-writers crowd that she used to be a part of.
Sound of 2011 #2: James Blake, James Blake
In a line: Blake’s eponymous album very quickly put to bed any notions that he’d be another dubstep star to break into the mainstream, arriving sandwiched between Magnetic Man and Katy B; instead, his debut paints the picture of a highly singular talent yet to fully find its step, but at its best is still capable of stealing one’s breath away.
James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream
Sound of 2011 #3: The Vaccines, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
In a line: Rather more than a rudimentary collection of uninspired, overly laddish indie-rock, to be honest.
Sound of 2011 #4: Jamie Woon, Mirrorwriting
In a line: If fate had played its cards rather differently, Woon might have featured on the Sound of… list back in 2008; but while his debut album has been a couple of years too many in the making, perhaps, there’s no doubt it delivers an engrossing experience, akin to a pop-polished take on Blake’s own brand of sci-fi soul and blissed-out beats.
Jamie Woon – Spirits
Sound of 2011 #5: Clare Maguire, Light After Dark
In a line: Well, at least this year’s Adele isn’t a Duffy.