The winner of the greatest talent quest in television history has found time to record...
Julie Broadfoot 2002
The Pop Idol label could well have been more of a burden for Will than a platform for stardom. Luckily, Simon Cowell has let runner-up Gareth Gates run with the 'Prince of Pop' tag and Will's got on with making an impressive, timeless, debut album.
A quality cast have been picked, featuring co-writers behind hits such asS Club 7's "Reach", Kylie's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and Five's "Keep on Movin". However, this album is not paint-by-numbers pop; the legendary Burt Bacharach has got involved, acting as the perfect accompaniment to Will's vocal talent.
The opening "Evergreen" and "Anything Is Possible" - his debut record-breaking single - bring back those emotional memories of the Pop Idol final and the mad hype that followed. After a couple of cheesy cover singles - his Lennon/McCartney duet "The Long and Winding Road" with Gareth and The Doors' "Light My Fire" Will finally gets to prove himself with tunes of his own backed by orchestras and choirs. Of these, standing out on first listen is "Lovestruck" featuring quirky rhythmic vocals but nevertheless meeting all pop criteria. It's in the same happy-go-lucky vein as the beautiful Bacharach-penned "What's In Goodbye". There's a touch of soulful jazz in "Over You", breathy like Madonna's "Fever" - and it's easy to imagine him crooning by the piano in his flatcap and smoking jacket. Swingin!
"Lover Won't You Stay", a Cathy Dennis/Guy Chambers combo is a grower, "Side By Side" is instantly catchy while "You And I" has a great chorus, funky bass and gospel backing vocals. There are no fillers and thankfully no Westlife-ish ballads. From Now On (bordering on alternative with its guitars) and "Fine Line" might take a couple of listens to win you over but its a fab album that won't disappoint anyone. It'll be a sure-fire Christmas stocking filler for everyone from pop chicks to their Robson & Jerome-loving Grans.