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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Former ‘X Factor’ contestant returns with mellow sound

Olly Murs, the English singer-songwriter who rose to fame after finishing as the runner-up on the U.K. version of “The X Factor” in 2009, returned with his fourth pop studio album, “Never Been Better,” on March 10. Bursting with passion, Murs’ songs on this record are full of energy and emotion. Though Murs is known for his upbeat and catchy tunes, he takes a little step back from that sound to add in some softer songs that are more serious and mature. Overall, the album benefits from this added variety to showcase Murs’ recent soulful sound.

The album kicks off with the songs “Did you Miss Me” and “Wrapped Up,” the latter featuring Travie McCoy. The cheerful and engaging songs are a nice way to get into this album and remind listeners what Murs is all about. They are full of guitar strums, intense drumbeats and wind instruments. “Up,” featuring Demi Lovato, is another optimistic track that beautifully combines Murs’ and Lovato’s powerful voices to create a hit.

By slowing it down, Murs creates stunning and charming songs that are full of piano. His soothing voice blended with the background music of the piano produces a delightfully simple sound. Songs that demonstrate these melodies are shown in “Hope you got What you Came For” and “Tomorrow.” In a refreshing way, these softer tunes give listeners the opportunity to hear the different tones in Murs’ voice and make for a polished album.

As a whole, “Never Been Better” was created with great artistic skill and exemplifies how Murs has developed over the last couple of years. In terms of sound and lyrics, the album is extremely successful and enrapturing. Just as the title says, Murs has never been better.