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Lemar - 'The Way Love Goes'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:15 UK time, Tuesday, 9 February 2010


OK, I give in. King Cnut had to find out his limits the hard way and so, it seems, do I. If a man with a singing voice of as unmistakably high a quality as Lemar's can resort to a bit of autotune, everyone else might as well opt for a robotracheotomy and have done with it.

At least he's using it well, following the Cher model, where you slightly and subtly androiderise your all-too meaty voice so that it sits better among the unyeilding electronica. It's a bit like having a USB port soldered into your neck. Slightly painful, but a useful way to get two different operating systems to interface effectively*.

The other model is to use it as a kind of robo-polyfilla, where all vocal cracks are given a smooth metallic outer coating because the voice inside would simply collapse without it. If asked, all singers and producers will claim that this model does not actually exist, and that they are all dabbling with this hot new production technique for genuine artistic reasons. And because everyone else is.

(Here's the video. That's not a real bathroom.)

Until now, the opposing argument has always been that people who can really sing, like really SING sing, y'know...really SING SING sing, don't tend to use it, because why would they? Adele doesn't use it. Rod Stewart doesn't use it. Jack Black doesn't use it. Therefore, if you use it, it proves you haven't really got what it takes.

But Lemar has (and Cher has, and she started it). Which leaves us refuseniks with nowhere left to hide. It is just as well, then, that his betrayal of the anti-autotune cause has had such happy results.

Sometimes, with the best will in the world, Lemar's palpable talent has been used to sell songs which are not very much fun. This is not one of those times. It's a dance-pop song: it HAS to be fun. It can't hide behind soulfulness or integrity. So, ditching the stately dignity for a sec, Lemar hammers a one-note verse (with variations) before belting out a chorus of disco machine-gun syllables, jabberjabberjabber. He then slows to end on two long notes, like a spring winding down in a clockwork toy.

The end result of all this tinkering is a kind of elder brother to the Black Eyed Peas' 'I Gotta Feeling', only without the shouting and toasts. The very idea of this might fill some of you with horror, and if it does, all I can say is that with time (and some intensive therapy) this will pass.

Now, where's my daily mantra card? Ah, here. Autotune is good....autotune is goood...

Four starsDownload: February 14th
CD Released: February 15th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

*NOTE: Please do not try this yourself. It does not work.


  • Comment number 1.

    really big fan of lemar for some reason... usually don't like the products of talent shows... maybe its because he can sing.. also makes decently catching songs.. loved 'if she knew'..

    this one's up there.. guessin he's tryin to get involved in the dancefloor

  • Comment number 2.

    It's quite amazing that Lemar has got to the point where he can release a half decent greatest hits, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought he was just going to disappear after fame academy but thanks to some good songs (If There's Any Justice, It's Not That Easy)he's stayed in the public's consciousness.

    On the subject of this song, it's alright 3 stars in my opinion but nothing that really stands out about it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Isn't that always the case with Lemar, though, really?

  • Comment number 4.

    song's not bad. autotune is though, i wish the 'talent' who repeatedly use it WOULD take up Fraser's suggestion of a USB thingy in the neck.

    i dont count Lemar in that by the way, he's talented. Only came 3rd on Fame Academy though, anyone know what happened to the winner/runner up?

  • Comment number 5.

    Pleasant enough, plodding along like it´s in no hurry. There´s a Cahill remix that is a bit dancier. Both quite good, but I wish the chorus was a bit more exciting than it is.

    Like you´ve all said, Lemar doesn´t DO stand out.

    Jonesy, I can´t remember when Lemar was in FA. Wasn´t there an Irish girl with a guitar the same year, who had a fantastic pop single out afterwards and then just disappeared? It was a bit of a hit. Can anyone remember her? I know I´ve got the single but don´t know where to start looking... (yeah, they´re all in alphabetical order, naturally)

  • Comment number 6.

    sinead quinn .

  • Comment number 7.

    Yesssss. Thanks Spirit.

  • Comment number 8.

    Everyone seems to be going into producing dancier music now... which isn't a bad thing... when it's done properly.

    This track, I'm glad to say, has been done properly. Not the catchiest song out there, but it's certainly memorable enough for me.

    I'd give it four stars.

  • Comment number 9.

    Where are all the David Sneddon fans ?

    Stop living the lie and show yourselves.....

  • Comment number 10.

    Haha, after an hour desperately searching Wikipedia, spirit has found a name...

  • Comment number 11.

    Where are all the David Sneddon, for that matter? Does HE even know?


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