Ben Haenow
Ben Haenow (Deluxe) (Sony Music)

Breakdown: Ben Haenow won the recent 11th season of The X Factor UK. Soon after winning, he released a cover of OneRepublic’s ‘Something I Need’ which became a huge hit in South Africa. His latest single ‘Second Hand Heart’ sees him collaborating with American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson.

How Many Good Tracks: 9 of the 14.

What I Liked: The album is a perfect pop/rock record. Not only are there stadium-sized anthems on this record, but Ben also slows things down with some beautiful ballads. Ben tries his hand at writing some of the songs on this record and hasn’t done too badly for a first attempt. His vocals are beautiful. There are times his hoarseness comes through and times when his vocals are so delicate, you get goosebumps. Ben made this album for his fans. He mentioned that he would have liked to record a “full-on” rock album but resisted – and it worked in his favour. Many of the songs on the record have the potential to become singles, and in that regard, it’s a strong album.

What I Didn’t Like: There is a clear formula on all the tracks on this record. It seems the record label had way to much influence here and Ben, somehow, lost a bit of his identity. The album also tends to get a bit boring. It would have been nice to see Ben do something extraordinary halfway through the album to break away from the routine.

Best Track: Second Hand Heart (Feat. Kelly Clarkson)

Rating: 3/5

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