Friday, May 13th, 2016

Rick Astley – Keep Singing

Not a Rick Roll…


Thomas Inskeep: Rick Astley was Sam Smith 25 years earlier, only a) he’s a better singer and b) his songs were the epitome of perfect fucking pop. He had an ebullient personality, bright ginger hair, and a cold cream complexion, Barry White’s voice in Howdy Doody’s body. Astley went down the Adult Contemporary/Radio 2 road all too soon in the face of shifting winds in British pop, but his initial run of singles was  brilliant. It would be easy to suggest that he’s tearing a page out of Smith’s pop-soul playbook with this comeback single, but remember that Astley (and Paul Young for that matter) was hoeing this row long before Smith. So, yeah, “Keep Singing” is would-be inspirational, and has a choir, and crescendos to a big finale, but it’s alright in spite of all of those. And Rick’s still got the voice, which matters most of all.

Jer Fairall: I get it: it must suck being a punchline. And as unworthy as Whenever You Need Somebody may have been of the 15 million copies (!) it sold worldwide (including the one that my father played incessantly on family car trips for at least a year), my reaction towards any such LOL @ the 80s smugness is knee-jerk enough to almost–almost–rally me to his defence. So I get why toning down that comically deep voice to a pensive Sam Smith-ian register seems like a path to belated credibility, but did we really deserve this ponderous, and vaguely written, gospel dirge?

Jessica Doyle: The line about stinging hands is lovely in its specificity; the lyrics get mushier after that, unfortunately. His voice is still fun to listen to; I want to hear what happens when he reconciles decades in the music industry, and pride in communicating with an audience, with work that doesn’t necessarily appeal so broadly. Is it condescending to say that a 50-year-old man has a lot of potential? I hope not; I feel hope when I say it.

Alfred Soto: When we last heard Rick Astley he had declared his independence from marvelous Stock-Aitken-Watterman cheese by writing his own stupid ballads. Now he’s grunting and straining to show he matters in a Sam Smith-flattened landscape. He quavers about children and castles while a horrified choir looks on.

Cassy Gress: Is gospel a new thing for him? He’s got the chops to do a spectacular gospel number if he wanted to, but this ain’t it; it’s bizarrely subdued, like they’re in the church basement late at night trying not to wake the neighbors.

Madeleine Lee: His voice has aged well, and the soulful-uplift mode is a novelty, but the lyrics and melodies are a string of tropes you probably would get from any other guy.

Brad Shoup: It would seem that John Newman’s vocal floor is Sir Elton. Not bad!

Reader average: [6.5] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

2 Responses to “Rick Astley – Keep Singing”

  1. lol Maddie

  2. Really wish I’d blurbed this. I don’t think he’s entirely a punchline in the UK, not at all, so the seriousfaceness isn’t that jarring. Don’t hear Sam Smith whatsoever either, although I do hear “Grounds for Divorce” and “Do I Wanna Know?”.