Conor Maynard’s debut album Contrast, released on Monday (July 30), is very good. We’re not going to lie and say that every single song is a masterpiece, but on the whole we are very impressed. Conor’s brilliant personality seeps through on every song, the tracklisting is a nice mix between songs that are a breath of fresh air and those that are just intended to be good fun, and… Actually, you know what? Let’s break it down to the essentials…
- Alternate covers! If the main cover art is not to your liking, don’t panic. The sleeve notes come complete with not one but TWO alternatives. Feel free to push against the mainstream (etc etc) by choosing either “cheeky, pensieve Conor in bright orange trainers” or “innocent-yet-mischievous Conor in an untucked shirt and tie”. Amazing.
- A Frank Ocean song! Frank Ocean is very “in” at the moment, and it’s not just because he was a decent enough human being to tell the world his first love was male. It’s also because he’s a rather talented musician. And, guess what – he’s co-written a song for Contrast. It’s called ‘Pictures’, and it’s so good that even the hard-to-please critics from broadsheet newspapers are wetting their knickers over it.
- The lyrics to ‘Another One’! People quick to attack Conor have taken great pleasure in criticising the lyrics of ‘Can’t Say No’ – and the great news is that he unapologetically pushes the flirtatiousness up another notch on ‘Another One’. Our favourite lyric on the whole album, let alone this one song, is “Said she wanna peel my banana-na-na”, closely followed by “Voulez-vous… you know the rest. ‘Merci beaucoup’, she said, and got undressed.”
- Ne-Yo, Pharrell AND Rita! OK, we’re not going to sugar-coat it: We’re a bit disappointed with Rita Ora collabo ‘Better Than You’. But the fact two of the UK’s coolest up-and-comers have even collaborated at all is amazing, and the Ne-Yo and Pharrell duets are both wicked. We particularly love the former’s appearance on ‘Turn Around’.
- Realising you’re an unapologetic Mayniac! Despite its occasional flaws, Contrast has been an album we’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. Conor’s earlier YouTube covers were what first drew us to him, his friendliness and grounded personality in interviews is what has kept our focus, and his original tunes are the icing on the cake. Contrast won’t get nominated for the Mercury Music Prize any time soon, but just the excitement of seeing a young hotshot becoming a Proper Popstar In His Own Right is enough for us.
Don’t fight it, everyone. Just pick up your copy.