Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Professor Green - Alive Till I'm Dead

Alive Till I'm Dead is the new album from Professor Green, out on July 19th 2010. At a dozen songs of three to four minutes each and a slightly longer closing piece, Goodnight, there's just over 40 minutes in total to either revel in or endure, depending on how you feel. There's a few collaborations and four Professor Green solo efforts, according to the credits, with names including Lily Allen and Labrinth appearing alongside Green's.

That being said, there's no attempt to hide behind the collaborators; Green's voice is centre stage throughout, making this a good opportunity to review his vocal ability, delivery and all-round performance. To cut a long story short, Green does a pretty decent job of delivering emotion and anger as the genre demands, without becoming anything approaching a musical cliche. His songs and performance alike are well balanced and well judged.

High Points

Alive Till I'm Dead is actually pretty entertaining throughout - Professor Green has that same subtle sense of humour and ease of delivery that's helped Dizzee Rascal to reach a mass market, while his songs tend to tell stories rather than dwelling on the same set of self-serving lyrics over and over again.

I Need You Tonight is particularly entertaining, thanks to the fact that Green sounds remarkably like Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses on certain lines. In a weird kind of way, that actually helps to boost the wheeler-dealer persona that he's playing up to and, if anything, makes the song work better.

The Verdict

I actually enjoy listening to Professor Green. His voice has an odd appeal that makes it easy to keep listening song after song - although in the age of digital downloads, it's good to see that the vast majority of his tracks on this album could stand alone without disappointing whoever shelled out for the cost of the download.

Goodnight is a fittingly grand ending to the album, bringing Alive Till I'm Dead to a close in a way that carries plenty of emotion over to the listener, but still wraps things up in a more subdued and melancholy manner.

Down points - because there should always be a couple - include the lack of adventure on some tracks. Green's voice is surprisingly versatile, but that versatility is not used to its fullest advantage here. Despite soaring orchestral movements on Goodnight, the vocals begin to sound slightly like a karaoke version of Stan by Eminem. It's a slight let-down given the overall quality of the album and of Goodnight itself, but not a total disaster.

Final Score: 59%

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