Mr Hudson - Straight No Chaser Album Review
This was always going to be an album open to criticism. Mr Hudson was known for the melodic acoustic based pop he produced with his band The Library, so Straight No Chaser is not the follow up you'd expect. Head hunted by producer extraordinaire Kanye West, Mr Hudson is now a fully fledged member of the glitzy LA R&B scene.
As soon as Supernova kicks in you realise exactly what you're in for with this album. Slickly produced big shiny pop tunes with heavy use of the vocoder and auto tune. But one thing that it doesn't prepare you for are Ben Hudson's lyrics. Clearly personal and painful, honestly recounting tales of lost love, not quite the subject you'd expect for these big bouncy songs.
With West both producing and questioning on some of the tracks, it was always going to be a West Coast affair. It's just a shame that Mr. Hudson couldn't hang on to some of the quintessential 'Englishness' that drew us to him in the first place. In Knew We Were Trouble he sings 'I'm just a boy from Birmingham, another imposter on a major-label roster - how did I get here?' and you can see why he might feel a bit out of place. His lovely, melodic voice is often a little bit lost in the synths and production. West's vocals too drown Hudson and although in the production, West is doing what he does best (arguably better than anyone else), in doing so, he stamps his mark so heavily that Mr. Hudson loses the battle to maintain his identity.
That said, you cannot argue with the fact that his songs have hooks big enough to swing on and big, catchy choruses. Commercial success and radio play a plenty will come out of this album.