Thursday, 24 January 2013
Charlie Simpson Young Pilgrim Album Review
Most people still think of him as 'the tall one from Busted with the eyebrows' or from his band 'Fightstar' that he started after Busted. His solo music couldn't be any more different from the commercial teen music of Busted or the heavy guitar driven rock of Fightstar.
I discovered his solo music when iTunes offered the single 'Cemetery' as the free track of the week and I've been hooked ever since. His debut solo album entitled 'Young Pilgrim' was released in August 2011 and reached No. 6 in the UK Album Charts. We all know that great music doesn't seem to chart well in the UK so I wasn't too upset he didn't hit number 1. To have a number 1 these days all you have to do is win a TV talent show, be Rihanna or duet with Flo Rida.
Charlie Simpson is a breath of fresh air in this sense. The album begins with a track called 'Down Down Down'. Fearne Cotton chose this as her Record of the Week on Radio 1. The song itself is acoustic and has a folk feel to it that intersects beautifully with Charlie's lyrics. He is a wonderful songwriter as well as a multi-skilled musician.
'Parachutes' is another standout track for me; it's very piano driven and such a melancholy feel to it that you can't help but stop what you are doing and listen. His husky voice calls out the lyrics "I'm so sorry for the pain, sorry for the ache, sorry for the moods I'm swinging. But I don't need your hand, I don't need your heart, I don't need a parachute' which could refer to a breakup or something entirely different. It depends on your perception.
My favourite track is 'All At Once'. This song has a similar feel to 'Down Down Down' in the sense that it is very folky. The lyrics in this song are very solemn. "It feels like I'm walking down my last mile, and my god it just feels so long." Charlie himself said that he was inspired to write this after watching the film The Green Mile so it has that sense of hopelessness and losing everything you've ever had.
'Sundown' is by far the softest song on the album and is very vocal driven. Charlie's voice really comes through on this song as we hear him pining for someone who is lost, or someone he is trying to forget. "I don't think I drank enough to make your face go away" being a standout phrase for me. This song is very haunting; the whole album is driven by big harmonies and Charlie said he was inspired by The Eagles (another favourite band of mine) and the American singer Jackson Browne.
I saw Charlie Simpson live in March 2012 and was lucky enough to meet him before the show and watch his soundcheck. He was a really lovely guy and took the time to have pictures taken with everyone. He even signed setlists for us. I was so nervous meeting him - trying not to sound like a One Direction fangirl here but his music means so much to me and has really helped me through some tough times. I hope that someone who reads this will be inspired enough to give his music a listen. It might just help you through some rough time too.