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’