Somehow both tremendously boisterous and horrendously bland.
Mike Diver 2010
Wikipedia states that London-based Elliot Gleave – E.G., Example, geddit? – “destroyed” a rival rapper when just 15 (note: not with his fists, but his mic skills). He's also far from shy when it comes to waxing lyrical about his way with the ladies. What does this tell us about the 27-year-old? That he’s full of himself? Well, a bit. But these are simply indications of how ordinary he is: a bloke enjoying life at his age, having fun how he sees fit, ‘larging it’. Not so different from you, or I, or Mike Skinner.
Alas, he’s also a pretty ordinary rapper, spouting slurry syllables and weary rhymes that John Barnes wouldn’t struggle with. This album employs several producers, from Calvin Harris to dubstep darling Benga, but doesn’t particularly further the lyrical fortunes of an artist who, on his 2007 debut What We Made, exhibited some potential as well as a chirpy cheekiness. Emphasis is placed on dancefloor-filling immediacy – the title-track delivers thick Eurodance synths; the Sub Focus-produced Kickstarts bleeps like MGMT stuck in a fizzy bass bin; and Last Ones Standing honours hedonistic stamina to a busy beat. But this mainstream-friendly sound comes at a cost, Gleave’s raps often restricted to bit-part roles in a picture compromised by too many contributors holding the reins.
Millionaires is this album’s Dry Your Eyes, a slow-paced, sluggishly-rasped number that compares a paramour to a “precious cargo” before our protagonist declares he has “a million ways to show you that I care”. Actions presumably speak louder than words, though, as he’s not too great at expressing his feelings verbally, as ode to holiday romance Watch the Sun Come Up confirms: “I’m hardly a linguist / Spoke through kisses ‘cos you didn’t speak English”. (Typical Englishman: didn’t pack a phrasebook.) That the amorous pair is “under the influence” rather skews the love-at-first-sight sentiments, but it shouldn’t detract wholly from what is a fairly sweet song, and one of this record’s highlights.
But such relative peaks are few and far between. Too much of Won’t Go Quietly is given over to shallow braggadocio, noisy arrogance, rabble-rousing but dated electro-aggro and cringe-worthy pop culture couplets. It is somehow both brilliantly boisterous and horrendously bland. In other words, perfect contemporary chart material.