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Man-ballad!

Our former coverboy Matt Cardle may have written the perfect break-up song...


Matt Cardle’s second album received a smattering of critical applause and a Top Ten place in the charts when it dropped in October. Claims of a ‘more mature sound’ may seem trite, especially in relation to a sophomore offering, but progression can be found in more than just the aural experience. Co-written by Matt and Starsailor frontman James Walsh, the album’s second single, Lately, is a break-up song for grown-ups.

As the video for Lately begins, we find Matt interned in Sinitta’s love dungeon*. He is tied, barefoot and bare-chested, to a lady whose clothing is similarly scant. She is not Sinitta. Together, they writhe on the floor. This arrangement may reflect the album’s lyrical impetus: feelings of entrapment during the end stages of a relationship. Cardle has discussed how the end of his most recent relationship inspired his songwriting. However, Lately is more specifically concerned with the catharsis of said relationship’s demise. It’s less ‘Woe is me’ and more ‘Woah is me’. Sorry.

‘My baby, it’s gonna get better’, croons Cardle in his impressive falsetto. Sure, it doesn't have the punchiness of Some Singles That We Used To Know but it neither authorises the same self-pity, nor does it affect hopelessness.

While it’s a earnest offering, the single doesn’t scrimp on bombast. Gospel overtones created by Matt’s layered vocals give it a touch of bravado. Cardle’s unafraid to go big, despite going with a label that’s not. He certainly owes the tutelage of Simon Cowell and Sinitta one thing: his mindfulness of the importance of showmanship. Aware that he’ll never appeal to those who yearn for something indie and grim, he doesn’t even try. Instead, he seems content to satisfy the only people who matter: himself, his fans and Sinitta.

*NB We have no evidence that Sinitta owns a love dungeon.

The Fire and Lately are both available now. Video below.



Words: Patrick Scullion

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