Paul Middleton is far from a stranger to performance or creativity. This latest release, a third installment of classic covers, offers the artist’s unique take on iconic songs. Fusing smooth and confident vocals with a vibrant, uplifting EDM backdrop, the well-loved Fast Car kicks the project off, bringing through equal parts familiarity and freshness; a comforting aura with something a little different about it.
What you get from this project in full is a view of a musician and performer with an uninhibited love and passion for music in its many forms. The songs covered range from age-old acoustic releases to modern day dance-pop, and plenty that falls in between. You can hear this love for the songs and this connection to the music on every track.
Holiday follows the opener with a familiar tone that’s guaranteed to make the vast majority of listeners smile. It’s unexpected after the emotional depths of Fast Car, but the contrast and eclecticism works well. Paul’s take on Holiday is refreshingly enjoyable, a simple dance-pop version that sounds surprisingly soulful and is quickly uplifting as it pours through. Superb production on this project lets every moment stand tall and lets the underlying energy really fill the room well.
Things take a turn for the more mellow and intimate as the beauty that is Careless Whisper starts to play. Paul showcases his vocal ability among a minimal soundscape in the beginning, adding the necessary emotion to the piece, and letting the subsequent build up really hit with impact. This is, as with the others, completely different to the original – the energy, the pace, the feel; once again, Paul’s angle with the cover proves unpredictable. This song evolves in a huge way to become something quite mesmerising – a live show is likely where the fire would really burn brightly.
Can’t Stop The Feeling brings the optimism and energy back up, a quicker pace and a varied vocal delivery offer a classic pop feel that’s easy to let play. After this, Paul takes on the mighty Titanium – a brave endeavor but he manages to make the song his own, catering it to his style and sound. The instrumental breakdown is quite beautiful. This is something like a dreamlike and delicate, trip-hop version of the song, and it works well.
Vincent is among some personal favourite songs, a number of which appear on this album – Paul has somehow captured the affection of a wider audience with this seemingly unconnected but widely appreciated playlist. His version of Vincent is respectably gentle and a pleasure to listen to – the piano and the guitar work beautifully as an ode to the original, and Paul’s voice sounds stunning in this calm setting.
Years & Years have written some of the best pop songs of the last decade and it makes sense when their song Shine emerges on this album. The song is easily satisfying and Paul’s take on it holds fairly close to the original – a huge chorus and a wash of synths rain down around you.
The final track on this release is In The Silence, a beautifully heartfelt outpouring that finishes things up with a moment of genuine connection and another powerful build-up. A gorgeous way to go out and a huge vocal performance from the singer. This collection is set to embrace the nostalgia in all of us, as well as introduce a few dashes of individuality that really give this the Paul Middleton sound.