Standing Tall is unlikely to sit up there with classic pop albums of all time. But it...
Ruth Mitchell 2003-07-29
It's fair to say that Kym Marsh is better known for being a TV talent pop star than for her contribution to British music. And she's graced more column inches for marrying a member of the cast of EastEnders than she has for her musical output. Yet, as Kym launches her solo career, and picks up the pieces after her recent separation from her husband, she has every reason to be feeling positive.
Standing Tall is unlikely to sit up there with classic pop albums of all time. But it is a competent effort from the Wigan lass, who, with Hear'Say, sold thousands of records and playedmassive arena tours around the UK. Although not all self-penned, the songs on this album are filled with resounding heart and soul. Her voice may not be truly professional, but she has the guts and determination to try and make some of these songs shine.
Opener "Cry" isn't a fantastic start. The acoustic guitar introduction has been used to death and the melody, although pleasant, packs no punches and holds no surprises. "Come On Over" follows on it's heels and is something of an improvement. The upbeat strumming chorus has a sunnier, less contrived, and more contented glow about it.
The initial spoken word vocal of "I think It's Gonna Rain Today" and the song's slightly more solid, competent guitars make it the stand out track of the whole collection. It has a more accomplished all-round harder sound about it and is less soppily sentimental than most of the others. Good stuff.
Otherwise, power ballads like "Live Forever" and "Cross Every River" dominate this 15 track album, filling it unnecessarily with over idealistic notions. 'I will cross every river / I will sail every sea / I will climb every mountain if it will you bring you back to me.' Really Kym, hasn't it all been said before? Surely there's more to good pop songs than endless happy endings? If this is the best Kym can do it won't be such a happy ending for her...