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Oct 03

WILL YOUNG – ‘Leave Right Now’

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Where, I was asking a few weeks ago, is a new ‘Careless Whisper’ going to come from? Where is the next ‘True’? All the current pop generation like their ballads – they love the opportunity to show off all those neat vocal tricks they’ve picked up, the ones that prove they’re ‘talented’. But precious few of these slowies have been any good. Here’s an exception. ‘Leave Right Now’ is very good indeed.

It gets the basics right, for a start. It’s catchy, it’s got a huge chorus, it builds up naturally from modest acoustics into a string-sodden harmonised monster, and it still clocks in at a winning 3 minutes 25. Anyone could have been given this and made it work, but not anyone was. And so Will Young saunters back out of obscurity and claims the song entirely.

Last year’s Pop Idol voters went for vulnerability in a big way. Gareth looked and acted the part, with his bog-brush hair and his stutter, but Will sung it: there’s a lightness and politeness to his voice which can make him sound wonderfully wimpy. (In the imaginary ‘Indie’ week on Pop Idol, Will would have aced ‘The State I Am In’). ‘Leave Right Now’ is obviously custom-written for him – the way it goes from wounded well-mannered diffidence to fierce pride is so Will Young – and it works.

But on previous singles when Will has dropped the oh-gosh schoolboyisms and snarled a bit he’s come across more like an angry gerbil than a passionate soul man (remember his strained ‘Fi-yah!’s on that Doors cover – nasty!). Here, suddenly, he gets it right – the bridge at 2’20” is startling and spectacular and, yes, soulful. For thirty seconds it’s a quite new Will Young we’re hearing, totally convincing, the best British pop-soul singer since George Michael.

I hope ‘Leave Right Now’ is a big hit. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be, unless the wish to clear the boards for this year’s Idol crop blinds radio programmers to the tune’s potential. I’m guessing Young still has enough public goodwill (ouch) to pull it off. And if he does – and if the album isn’t filled with makeweights–well, let’s wait and see. But next time you need to offer a justification of the whole Reality Pop thing, reach for this moment.

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