If you were to judge Matthew Sheridan Cardle by his related artists on Spotify, you probably wouldn’t bother listening: The X Factor Finalists 2010, Olly Murs, The Wanted, JLS and Katy B feat. Ms Dynamite. Sadly, I didn’t take heed.
Of all the innumerable X factor winners, Matt Cardle was one of the most likeable. Aside from wearing a hat throughout most of the series, he had a certain amount of credibility. He played the guitar, wrote his own songs and his Christmas number one was a cover of Biffy Clyro (marginally better than Leona Lewis’ bash at Snow Patrol). There was hope that he would follow in the footsteps of the likes of Will Young and be a bit original.
Letters isn’t bad, it’s just really, really boring. I tried listening to the lyrics really closely for something funny to say, but I got nothing apart from ‘if I could have one superpower it would be to make you understand’ (nah, you’d definitely pick something else). The track names alone are sleep-inducing: ‘Amazing’, ‘Faithless’, ‘Beat Of A Breaking Heart’, ‘Stars & Lovers’, ‘Reflections’, ‘Walking On Water’. There are just too many emotions and pop-rock ballad cliches flying about for anything to seem vaguely sincere or interesting.
Lead single, ‘Run For Your Life’, with its formulaic piano and string interludes, is a real plodder. He is supposedly inciting us to run for our lives, and yet there is not even a sense of urgency. I was surprised to learn that the track was written by Gary Barlow; why couldn’t you have given him ‘Patience’, eh Gaz? While there’s no denying that Cardle has a good voice and can pen a decent 2 + 2 tune, there is nothing about Letters that makes me want to listen to it again.
But enough about the music; elsewhere, Cardle has some solid opinions. When asked about 9/11 (WHO is asking him these questions?) he said “The whole 9/11 thing…something’s not quite right there. It’s just not what they say it is. Other conspiracies might be true and the one I believe might be bullshit. But all I do know is what they’re saying is bullshit”. At least he doesn’t wear a hat anymore, right?