« Previous | Main | Next »

Paolo Nutini - 'Candy'

Post categories:

Fraser McAlpine | 10:26 UK time, Saturday, 16 May 2009

Paolo NutiniHand on heart, I never got the Paolo Nutini thing. There were just too many record companies signing too many easy-on-the-eye singer-songwriters at the time, and after being forced to listen to Jack Johnson, Newton Faulkner and James Morrison in every cafe and surf shop in town, I developed an irrational dislike of any hot, stubbly troubadour with a tatty Takamine guitar and a notepad full of half-whispered musical diary entries. Plus they all seemed to sing in a really odd accent, somewhere between American and Australian, lots of rounded vowels, made strange by attempting to sing the blues quietly round a campfire, I would imagine.

Paolo Nutini, for all that he can pen a decent song about buying shoes, fell firmly into that category. Or so I thought.

(Here's the video. Put a proper shirt on, man, it's a wedding!)

The first thing I realised, on listening to this, is that his voice has changed. Not only is Paolo singing with a far more pronounced Glasgow burr than he ever did before, but he's abandoned that smooth, cool, unruffled and mellow Jack Johnson delivery, in favour of a tremulous, terrified old man warble.

I say this as if it's a strange and foolish thing for him to have done, but the first few times I listened to this I was mesmerised by the change. I couldn't stop wondering how suddenly, even though the music is broadly the same kind of stuff you'd expect - polished, grown-up folky rock with a country edge - even though the song isn't all that far from something on that first album, and even though I still recoil whenever a CD with a photogenic scruffbag minstrel lands on my desk, this song cut through like vinegar in a trifle.

And it really is all in the voice. Instead of sounding like the cocky hot young scamp on the block, he suddenly sounds ancient, broken and vulnerable, which, considering he is essentially begging for affection and forgiveness from a grumpy loved one, is only right and proper.

Extra star awarded for perfect use of the word "nonetheless".

Five starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: May 18th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Die Shellsuit, Die! says: "Mr. Nutini needs to get into a few more fights over women in bars and be more Van Morrison than James Morrison."
The Mahogany Blog says: "it's abundantly clear he's done some serious growing up."


  • Comment number 1.

    I really liked a lot of this guys first stuff, I thought he was better than all the artists you listed there. Glad to see him return with a really nice song.

  • Comment number 2.

    WOW this sudden plethora of 5 star reviews.....

    Tommy.... Deadmau5... Paulo............ Dizzee............

    This after months of no 5 star reviews !

    Here ar my top reasons why I feel this is suddenly so :

    1) You have won the lottery.

    2)Your new medication is working, and giving you a wonderful warm, joyous feeling.

    3) You have a new sound system that is making Tommy Sparks sound like OK Computer by Radiohead !

    4)The above four artists have incriminating photoes of you.

    5) Aliens ?

    6) Something along the lines of The Stepford Wives is going on............

    Hey maybe you just like the songs........ hmmm ....

    I like totally get the Dizzee song.... 5 stars all day long... but some of the others ?

    Hmmmmm ... not quite sure...
    Anyone else got any ideas on this sudden 5 STAR explosion ?

  • Comment number 3.

    1 and 2 wouldn't make me like substandard songs any better, would it?

    3 is plausible, assuming OK Computer is a standard for sonic excellence (it's alright, but Tommy Sparks is better for dancing).

    5 and 6 are not true, but then I would say that if they were.

    I just like the songs. I'm excited that there are five star songs around at the moment. It's sort of like you've been like over Empire of the sun.

    The fact that you don't agree doesn't dent that excitement one bit. Music either hits hard or it doesn't.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hey I am loving the new you !!

    It's great.... I was like, just having fun......

    I like all your five star songs.....

    I love dancing to Tommy Sparks......

    I really don't think anything near Invasion of the bodysnatchers is really going on..........

    or is it ?

  • Comment number 5.

    I am lovin the 5 star explosion!

    Isn't it grEAT when the new releases are awash with great songs ?

    We are the people and Juggernauts by Enter Shikari are now both a listed at RADIO 1 !

    In new music we trust !

    GOOD TIMES !!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    urrgh...if i want to hear Al Green, i'll listen to Al Green. anyone labouring under the misapprehension that this fellow is any good should go and listen to Al Green.

    this is just a skinny white boy doing a bad impersonation...

  • Comment number 7.

    It must be a pretty bad impersonation unless Al Green has had some kind of accent transplant and become Scottish.

    I can't hear the comparison - on this song -at all.

    Which means that 'Candy' is officially also a bad impersonation of Annie Lennox, a rubbish Ozzy Osbourne, and his Bob Dylan leaves a lot to be desired too.

  • Comment number 8.

    Fraser, Bob Dylan's Bob Dylan leaves a lot to be desired, in the vocal department.

  • Comment number 9.

    Al Green's version of Tired of being alone really sends a shiver down my spine....
    Brilliant !

    But which AL Green song gave Tina Turner her first solo top 10 single ?

  • Comment number 10.

    Everett , it's so nice of you to join us.... you are among a lot of music fans who enjoy all types of music ,and thoroughly enjoy Fraser's work in bringing us all together and bringing us the latest reviews of new releases.

    It would be wonderful if you would kindly share with us the songs and bands you are enjoying at the moment........

  • Comment number 11.

    Let's Stay Together, produced by Heaven 17 blokes.

  • Comment number 12.

    Penthouse and Pavement... a superb album.... but then you guys have mentioned the great Bob Dylan..... so ,so influential... so here's a question....

    Which Bob Dylan song has given The Rolling Stones their biggest hit single since 1983 ?

  • Comment number 13.

    Like a Rolling Stone


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.