Duffy’s voice defines her. Of course, this could be said of countless singers, but with Duffy it really is the case. That subtle croak that follows every note made her debut, Rockferry, one of the biggest albums of 2008. After seemingly disappearing for two years, Duffy has recently returned with her second album, Endlessly.
With this release comes a new sound. The mellowness of Warwick Avenue and Stepping Stone has been replaced with more upbeat numbers. My Boy is a track that screams ‘Kylie’ to me. It’s a dance number that is sure to get feet moving. In a similar vein, Keeping My Baby, is far more of a pop number than what Duffy was previously known for. In an attempt to match up to the repetitiveness of Mercy, Well, Well, Well has some easy to remember lyrics – many of which are tied up in the title to start with.
Breath Away returns to more familiar territories. The chorus is full of heartbreak with a catchy melody that is matched with more subdued verses. But as soon as that moment of hope is reignited, it disappears with Lovestruck. It’s not a bad song, it’s just distinctively average. I really want to love this album, but with Duffy distancing herself from the emotionally raw songs I once sang my heart out to, I’m struggling to fall for this mishmash of tracks.
With half of the tracks venturing into new dance sounds, the remaining tracks are left to hold the fort and do so successfully. The pitch perfect Girl, Too Hurt To Dance and Don’t Forsake Me are favourites of mine. The latter is sung from the heart with its slow pace and Duffy’s distinctive long notes. This is the Duffy I know and love. Strong songs matched with powerful vocals.
Whilst it’s admirable that Duffy has chosen to polish all the songs that attempt to guide her career in a new direction, I’m questioning whether a change was really required. Her debut was a chart topper; Endlessly only made it to number one on the album chart in its first week. This album has plenty of options for single releases, but for me it just doesn’t live up to Rockferry. Her voice has the power to be left raw and unadulterated, but with this record it seems as though they’re trying to support it with fancy instrumentals. It just proves that change isn’t always for the best.