A few years ago a friend of mine had an idea. He had a studio in his bedroom and wanted to make pop music with it, music that would sound as much as possible like the stuff topping the charts but with more personal and idiosyncratic lyrics. I was doubtful, not because I think the lyrics on chart pop are wonderful, but because I thought bedroom-studio attempts at aping a machine-pop sound were doomed to failure.

Daniel Bedingfield proves me wrong – his album may not have been recorded in his bedroom but it shows its home-studio roots at every turn. It’s urgent, gauche, desperate to please; it sounds cheap and breathless, and it’s rather addictive. Bedingfield takes a puppyish delight in every hook he lucks onto, pushing them and himself forward, needing our love – it’s like he was discovering modern pop styles for himself, not just working within their limits. He sounds, in other words, like he just loves chart-pop, which I like since I do too. And because he started by doing it all on a budget even his most ‘generic’ tracks sound oddly askew and fragile, like “If You’re Not The One”, which must be the smallest big ballad ever made.

DB sings it in a soft, quivery voice some distance away from his “Gotta” squeak or “James Dean” bark. He enunciates clearly; he sounds tender and sensible. The production is inobtrusive. It could have been made any time in the last fifteen years. It could have been made any time in the last fifteen years by Cliff Richard (suddenly I think “Jesus! Maybe it’s about Jesus!”), but even so I like it. I like a lot more ballads these days, not because of any new emotional connection I think, more because I’ve listened to enough to get used to them and appreciate the initial turn-offs. The hook on this one is very pretty, but honestly, ultimately, I only like it because it’s by Daniel Bedingfield.

On the CD:UK programme a few months ago he appeared and mentioned quite earnestly to Cat Deeley that he fancied her, and she laughed it off and he pressed on with it and then suddenly looked very uncomfortable, as if suddenly realising that it wasn’t what you were meant to do as a pop star. That’s what his album sounds like, too – pop without the social skills. But here he is, gee whiz, a pop star. I hope he stays one.

New York London Paris Munich   Pop