Wiley should go down as a legend no matter what your taste.
Sophie Bruce 2008
Wiley is set to surprise on his latest album, songs he describes as 'elements of everything wrapped in something new'. Many bases are covered, from grime to trance to dance to pop. And amazingly, despite the potential for a confused melting pot of averageness, Wiley more than pulls it off.
After the single success, the album could easily have become Wearing My Rolex and friends, but Wiley refuses to rest on his laurels. Helping him raise the bar are Hot Chip, Mark Ronson and surprises which keep on coming.
The title track could almost be from a credible boyband – say X Factor's JLS. Kano – himself no stranger to chart collaborations – features on that as well as another big potential hit – pensive rap-ballad 5AM. The inimitable Hot Chip make metallic, electro funkfest Step By Step their own. I Am The Sea evokes memories of epic Jay-Z / Linkin Park collaborations. And there's a fab, albeit unexpected, Republica sample underpinning Can't Stop Thinking.
Every song here more than deserves its place, but the solid gold? Upcoming single Cash In My Pocket. Produced by Mark Ronson and featuring his Stop Me”protégé, Daniel Merriweather, on retro hook vocals, it rings in your ears long after it ends. Don't let the PR rubbish – that Wiley has penned the ''anthem for our credit crunch times'' - put you off. This is ear candy at its very best.
The most refreshing thing about See Clear Now is the sheer eclecticism of the music – such a variety of genres and styles at work, but every single one of them done well. He's canny – tracks like the unashamedly poppy Turn It Up will no doubt upset those who were expecting another grime album from the genres self-styled Godfather. For everyone trying to pigeonhole this man, or write him off as just another crossover artist, be warned. On this album alone, Wiley should go down as a legend no matter what your taste.