Liam Payne has one chance to make a valid impression with his debut album ‘LP1’, and in the lead up to this release he continually had me cringing with lyrics that didn’t feel authentic and beats that felt so contradicting to the mood he was trying to set. So retrospectively the bar was set really low for how I was going to react to this record.
His heart was missing from the early material he released and it became a little noticeable which impacted the lack of chart and radio traction. His lead single ‘Strip That Down’ was the only song that had a successful moment of it’s own, but even then it was a questionable one which was purely driven from his post One Direction status.
Luckily for him the singles (Minus ‘Bedroom Floor’ and ‘For You’) don’t do the album complete justice. When you take away ‘Stack It Up’, ‘Polaroid’, ‘Familiar’ and ‘Get Low’, there are actually some really bold and experimental moments that are a lot smoother and less cringe, hidden beneath the surface. But there are also some plain awful songs too which will have you questioning how they even got on the album.
From the nostalgic tropical pop delivery of ‘Remember’ you will be instantly questioning why he didn’t release this as a lead single ahead of the album. With the reflective break up storyline, he questions “How do you know someone so well and then it changes? All of a sudden, you’re strangers” while the slick hook will then get stuck in your head.
From there he gets a little more experimental in the dance elements of ‘Tell your Friends’ and adds a thicker hip-hop beat on the instant favourite ‘Heart Meet Break’.
Along with this bold experimentation are some songs that just don’t work. From the forgettable ‘Say It All’, ‘Rude Hours’, ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Weekend’ to the try-hard Chris Brown reminiscent ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, he loses his self identify. ‘Both Ways’ is a sexually spiced song that I think he will regret releasing in the future.
There’s so much going on within some of these tracks that identifying who he is as an artist becomes a bit of a struggle.
‘LP1’ is a record that is very hit and miss and sadly there are more misses than hits, but that comes down to the positioning of who he is as an artist. He’s ultimately under sold himself and the are potential he has.
He has the fanbase, he has the voice and he has the sex appeal of a young Justin Timberlake, and now he just needs to flaunt it and be more himself in a genuine way.
There are real glimpses of who he is but he’s just got to hone his craft in a stronger way.