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Album Review: Boy George – This Is What I Do

Boy George has had a controversial few years in his private life, but as he returns to making music he hopes to set the record straight.

George O’Dowd, a.k.a Boy George, has had an eventful decade. Having spent time inside on this side of the pond for a false imprisonment charge on top of community service Stateside for cocaine possession and falsely reporting a robbery, it could be said that many had forgotten why O’Dowd had reached the top of his game. While one will never fully overlook the sheer genius of his Culture Club years (who can resist ‘Karma Chameleon’?) nor his work redefining views of sexuality and gender image around the world, so much controversy has made more than a minor dent in his legacy. Heck, the guy was even refused entry to the Celebrity Big Brother house for his sins. Although this passing of time hasn’t seen O’Dowd removed completely from the musical world – his 2010 release Ordinary Alien received a rather muted response – it appears he wishes to make a grand statement with his first album in three years – This Is What I Do.

This Is What I Do does exactly what it does on the case. It showcases who Boy George is as an artist these days. The problem therein is that Boy George, void of controversy surrounding his image or personal life, is in fact a rather bland artist. His distinctive vocal is still present but a shadow of his androgynous 80s self. His lyrics are barely worth mentioning and his album appears stuck in first gear for far too long.

The rather ambitiously titled ‘King Of Everything’ kicks off proceedings in a rather blissful manner. While it is far from memorable, it at least gets everything off to a pleasant start. While ‘Bigger Than War’ follows suit, things perk up slightly on the reggae-tinged ‘Live Your Life’. Though it may pick up the tempo a notch, it far from makes the irrepressible impression O’Dowd had no doubt intended.

Given that over half the album drags by before a decent track arrives in the shape of the bouncing ‘My Star’, one has to beg the question whether this is really what Boy George should still be doing. Unfortunately the moment of musical genius is far too fleeting as ‘Love and Danger’ and ‘Nice and Slow’ return proceedings to the slow winding drone of the album opening. Thankfully album closer, ‘Feel The Vibration’ leaves proceedings on a high – but it is all too little too late.

The prospect of Boy George returning to the music world was an exciting one, but sadly he fails to come even close to his earlier musical highs.

Standout Tracks: ‘My Star’ / ‘Feel The Vibration’

This Is What I Do is available to download now from Amazon and iTunes.

 

Comments

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13 Comments

  1. Ed

    30 Oct 2013 at 06:08

    There is no accounting for taste. However, this review is just…wrong. Hopefully, most people will listen for themselves. The worst part is the tone of the review. Trite, flippant, and so-so-gay in the worst way.

  2. MoreMusicKnowledgePlease

    30 Oct 2013 at 12:31

    Obviously this review is by some queen who has an age-old annoyance with George, either that or he/she is too young to take this album seriously and is a bit peeved because its not dancey enough. Let me put the record straight. The reviewer has not even taken the time to listen properly to what he is reviewing. So… i’m not inclined to listen to any reviews on So So Gay again. This Is What I Do is an incredibly intelligent, well written album, featuring some of the best musicians in London. George’s voice sounds soulful and excellent. The lyrics are outstanding. The tunes are far from un-memorable, and the overall vibe of the album is amazing. So So Listen To Me…. not some bitter old queen with an axe to grind from So So Gay

    • adam

      30 Oct 2013 at 12:38

      here here! they seem to let anyone write for this site now then they describe themselves as ‘journalists’ – not with these credentials!

  3. adam

    30 Oct 2013 at 12:33

    Bad review, I’m afraid. The art of reviewing music is not something everyone can cope with and certainly not this reviewer. Albums should be reviewed on their merit not personal taste. They should also be reviewed by someone who genuinely knows about music.. No confirmation of the styles used here, the impressive list of collaborators, the themes….really, why bother? Get proper writers, so-so!

    • Guest

      31 Oct 2013 at 23:29

      But there is no objective merit when it comes to music. It’s all about personal taste as to what you like or you don’t like. Personally, I agree with the reviewer. Of course, the Boy George fanatics don’t agree but are you objective? You praise this just because it has George’s name on it. I’m a casual fan of George, not a fanatic. I feel he is letting his age limit him. He keeps talking about how he has to be classy, grown up, understated just because he’s over 50. But it’s boring. I liked his more uptempo stuff with CC or his dance tracks like Generations of Love, not all this MOR dull stuff.

  4. DJSet2006

    30 Oct 2013 at 12:53

    Jeremy Williams is just an old jealousy frustrated queen with no talent to write even a cake recipe. Jeremy your review is just stupid. You just a loser. Boy George’s new album is great!

    • Boy Jordan

      30 Oct 2013 at 13:27

      This album is boy george at his best. Its such a great album. This Is What I Do is that it feels “real,” like a man standing in front of you, telling you what he’s been through, how he survived, and how he feels now. It’s very reflective, even philosophical…

  5. Boy Jordan

    30 Oct 2013 at 13:47

    Some reviews :

    “it earns its place in 2013 and showcases Boy George doing what he does best: being a pop singer.”

    Digital Fix

    “This Is What I Do is characterized by big song after big song.”

    Virgin Media

    ” A mature, solid comeback, certainly – but a snap in the tail wouldn’t have gone amiss, either.”

    Irish Times

    “It will take more than one album to remind audiences of Boy George’s often brilliant abilities, but This Is What I Do is foundation enough for more.”

    Music Ohm

    “This Is What I Do is the comeback of the year.”

    The Guardian

    “Boy George is back, and he deserves to reign again.”

    Classic Pop

  6. aLEX

    31 Oct 2013 at 10:49

    i agree that the album is blah.. he seems to be too into this reflective mood..which is great for therapy sessions but for fans who want edge and drama its too much tired ruminating ..lots of granola …,,,zzzzz,,but as an artist he has so much to offer..love the darker hues of his voice today ..some his more recent work worth listening to is american heart and universal love..

  7. GVF

    31 Oct 2013 at 17:22

    He looks like “the bearded Lady”

  8. O'Snap

    4 Nov 2013 at 23:26

    You mean the album was what Boy George wanted it to be instead of what Jeremy Williams wanted it to be? Shame on you, George!

  9. Miles

    6 Nov 2013 at 08:30

    This is the only bad review I’ve read for the album either in print or online. Have to say that the majority got it right on this occasion, and So So Gay, you got it so so wrong!

  10. aakalan

    31 Mar 2014 at 08:16

    Somehow, the author just seemed to miss the boat. For me, this is Boy George’s best work in years. The difference is that it’s not the music of some giddy club kid, it’s the music of a mature artist and musician. I found much of it moving, all of it highly professional and it’s a great assemblage of many different styles. Less soaring vocals, more deep passion and wisdom. Who could ask for more? Well, obviously, the reviewer here.

    Thank heavens, all the major critics are lauding this triumphant album.

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