Rick Astley performed with Kylie Minogue last year, on her 50th birthday and during her Hyde Park performance, which put him back into the spotlight. In the meantime, he released a new album celebrating his beautiful life.
Rick Astley On Repeat
I wondered if I’d be repeatedly playing the new Rick Astley album, “Beautiful Life”, the way I used to with his very first two albums. There’s not a person on earth who hasn’t heard “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The song was a huge hit in 1987 and sparked a massive pop career for Rick, for several years. Not only did the radio keep the song’s success alive, but the Internet also helped a bit. On the Internet, it was a popular thing to spoof people into clicking a link that would show the video. They called it rickrolling. And Rick rolled with it.
Maturing With A Smile
But today, Rick is older and knows a thing or two about life, which is transparent in the lyrics on the new album. It’s mainly a positive album with songs about celebrating each moment of life, keeping faith and rising up after bad times. Four singles have already been released from the album, which has been out since July 2018. It took the fourth single to catch my attention thanks to his link to Kylie’s performance and the funny video for his latest single, “She Makes Me”. Rick still shows, he doesn’t back away from a fun idea.
It’s interesting that some press in the Netherlands were surprised with his persona, after seeing him perform here last year. Apparently, they thought he would be the clean cut pop singer he appeared to be in the 80s. They were taken back that he drank a stiff drink on stage, sang songs out of his genre and he dropped a few swear-words. Maybe they have no idea what an average English bloke is like…. But, I got the impression Rick is more himself now and what you see is what you get.
Natural Musical Progression
Ever since he left PWL, Rick Astley makes a mix of mature pop music with soul influences. “Beautiful Life” holds no surprised there, if you already know this. But, if you come from last hearing him in 1987, you’ll notice the difference.
The title track, “Beautiful Life” – which opens the album – is a funky disco song written and produced by Rick. No wonder they picked this as the albums first single. It lifts you up and makes you think the album contains dance music throughout, especially with the follow up track named “Chance To Dance”. However, it’s not. In fact, each up tempo track has got something different to it.
For instance, “Beautiful Life” takes you to the disco, “Chance To Dance” and “She Makes Me” takes you a little bit to the country side and “Shivers” reminds you of “Thunder” by the Imagine Dragons. Therefore, Rick shows he’s keeping up with the current music trends. BTW, today’s music still keeps up with him, too. Some DJ mashed up his music with Avicii’s and the idea is not half bad (see below).
Despite there being a good mix of tempos on the album, I had a hard time getting through it. At least, the first time I listened to it.
I’ve found the first half of the album the most interesting. There’s a lot of variation between songs and the songs are easy to get into. However, I initially dozed off in the second half and it needed a few go-rounds for me to wonder what my initial problem was.
Apparently, my taste in music is not as commercial as I thought. I later found out that “Try” and “Empty Heart” were all singles. The empowering “Try”, with its strong background choir, reminds me of “Cry For Help”. I would’ve picked the up tempo tracks as singles though, but I like a little more risk, I guess.
Touring With Take That
I’m sure success will grow for Rick Astley in 2019. He’ll be touring with Take That in the UK in April 2019. As crazy as this combination may have been in Take That’s heyday, the two have had a similar journey and it makes perfect sense now.
All songs I mention in my music blogs can be found on my Spotify Playlist, “Featured Music Blog Songs”