The tragedy is that the man isn’t without talent.
Jude Rogers 2010
Here croons, sighs and whimpers the latest instalment of the Peter Andre project, one man’s valiant journey to claw himself back into the bosom of the pop charts, rather than the cleavage of his supermodel ex-spouse. Or so Andre says.
This career-spanning collection of love songs and syrupy covers, largely directed towards a heartless hag who did a boy wrong, should have been called What Katie Did, really. It doesn’t matter if it was made to win her back, make her weep, or keep Andre selling his life, as he has done, since they met in 2004. Listening to it is like plunging through someone’s underwear drawer, then their laundry basket, then their toilet bowl: brutally personal, and not particularly healthy.
The tragedy is that the man who tainted the world with Mysterious Girl, and wrote misunderstood jungle classic, Insania, isn’t without talent. Yes, talent. Many of the songs here jut their bottom lip towards The Stylistics’ soul flourishes and Michael Jackson’s smooth balladry – indeed, She’s Out of My Life is covered here almost spiritually – and Andre’s voice is sometimes charming; certainly an improvement on many of his ripped-ab pop contemporaries. Also, despite, clunky lyrics, sobbing pianos, oily strings and winsome backing vocals, he puts genuine feeling into songs like the title track, telling us what it is like to bring us someone else’s son as one’s own (“You would change my life/Turning me from a boy to a man”). In songs like Go Back (“Tell me how I messed up”) and Stay With Me (“my heart’s gone cold”), the whiff is of competent, late-night, cab radio fodder.
But although this is an album of love songs, slow- to mid-paced by nature, every track very quickly sounds cloyingly similar, pushing sympathies to wear thin along with attention spans. Unconditional is also 16 tracks long, and by the time you get to the limp cover of Terence Trent D’Arby’s Sign Your Name, any human would sign their life away for a change of speed, rhythm, anything. Andre should stop selling his celebrity so sorrowfully, and get us out of here.