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Friday, 1 June 2012


Holy shit - I mentioned sort of off-handedly in my discussion of Les Miserables that they should have cast Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras because he was fantastic in the 25th Anniversary edition, but I hadn't realized at the time that for him that was somewhat of an under-performance. In the run up to my seeing Hadley Fraser on the West End last week, I not only watched the 25th Anniversary edition of Phantom of the Opera, but also surfed around on YouTube for videos of Fraser as Javert, both of which resulted in my hearing Ramin giving fantastic performances also (Ramin having played both the Phantom and Valjean opposite Fraser). But I didn't truly appreciate Karimloo's genius until this very moment - listening to his brand new album, titled simply "Ramin". From the very first song, I knew this album was going to be incredible - it's not recorded in the style of, say, "Alfie" - an album on which the singer is very much centre-stage, and is designed to simply show off their voice. It has instead been recorded as though it were a regular pop album, with emphasis on the music as a whole. Not only this, but whilst most albums by other stars such as Alfie Boe or John Owen Jones contain the singers doing covers of popular songs (often from the shows they have been in), Karimloo's album contains 4 songs written by himself, showing off his talent as a writer as well as a performer. These tracks are outstanding, and I'm now seriously considering trying to catch Sheytoons in concert the next time they play, on the assumption that if his solo work is this good, his band must be absolutely incredible. His interpretations of classic songs are also brilliant, with his new take on Music of the Night being particularly memorable, and most of the other songs on the album also being at an amazingly high standard (There are 4 tracks which aren't by Karimloo which I'm not sure of the source of, but if they are originals, then fuck me this album has 8 brilliant original songs, and 4 great covers). His new interpretations of rock/pop songs are also as great as his new spin on tracks from musicals (though, I should probably watch "Love Never Dies" before I can compare Ramin's cover of "Til I Hear You Sing" to anything), with his version of "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams being particularly enjoyable, but his cover of "Guiding Light" also being outstanding. If you're like me and not massively knowledgeable on music (odd statement, given what this site is dedicated to, I know), I honestly think you will prefer this album to most other albums by great solo-singers, because it just has the feeling of something you can listen to in any circumstance and enjoy - the way all the songs seem to tie in, with enough variation to each be unique and interesting, but with enough similarity to pull the album together nicely, is also great, and the songs on the album were clearly picked for this reason. In fact, it works so well I'm willing to completely forgive the fact that he didn't record a single track from Les Miserables. I would certainly recommend this album, as it's one of the best I've bought recently, and I'm now really looking forward to the release of Sheytoons' first album (as well as Hadley Fraser's solo debut, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves).

He's far too busy growing pretentious beards to be wasting time in a studio...

Now, just in case this isn't a manly enough post for me to put on my Blog, I'm off to watch "Klitschko", and watch some faces get severely punched in...

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