We have no problem with music of a blatantly commercial pop persuasion. We enjoyed every sugary episode of Glee and have been known to grin with imbecilic delight at singles by the likes of Sugababes But this? Joe McElderry’s debut is a marshmallow and-corn-syrup bridge too far, built on the shifting sands of X Factor triumph, and if it hits the spot with anyone who doesn’t spend their Saturdays at Claire’s Accessories, we’ll eat our socks.
The 19-year-old lad has a decent enough, MOR/theatreland voice (at least, he may do; the slathering of Auto-Tune makes it hard to tell) and a falsetto so excessive that for a few moments we thought the album had been streamed at the wrong speed.
His songs are aimed at the Robbie demographic, with notes of George Michael and Dame Elton signalling ‘maturity’. They fall roughly into three categories: epic and blustery with a thumpingly banal drum track; treacly and balladic with a thumpingly banal drum track; and housed-up with a thumpingly banal drum track. McElderry is going for both the pre-pubescent penny and the pink pound, and his ‘people’ will be milking those markets until the Cowells come home. They –and poor McElderry –may not have as long as they imagine.