Eg White - Adventure Man
Richard Wink 23/06/2009
We tend to forget about the songwriters, when Robbie Williams was tearing it up in the late nineties few gave Guy Chambers the credit he deserved. A pop artist like Katy Perry will only have written a few of her 'own' songs, most are knocked together by a face behind the scenes. Often this face stays in the background, rolling in the royalties whilst the puppet performs.
Eg White is a songwriter who has composed hits like Adele's 'Chasing Pavements' and Will Young's 'Leave Right Now', he has worked with a whole host of pop artists currently making waves, including the likes of Sam Sparro and Daniel Merriweather. In many ways this album is an attempt to satisfy Eg's own personal ambition to break out as a performer, kinda like what Elton John's long time song writing partner Bernie Taupin did with Tribe in the eighties. Though somewhat surprisingly this isn't White's first effort at pop success, back in the day he was in pop groups such as Brother Beyond and Eg and Alice, his 1996 solo album Turn Me On, I'm a Rocket Man failed to register, since that moment he has been a behind the scenes man, watching other people attain success with songs he has written.
I must confess this album is a complete snoozefest, few people under the age of forty will get anything from the twelve MOR numbers on display. The content may be personal but the whole way through Adventure Man you are thinking to yourself “This song would sound so much better if James Morrison was singing it”. That my friends is really quite worrying.
In the press release I received with this album Eg candidly explains the song writing process. He says “Out of 40 songs only ten are going to be good, and only one is going to be a killer. The others are not embarrassing; they just don't get over the wall”. Possibly this explains why so many of these songs fail to hit the mark, the number one singles have already been picked up by other artists. 'Pay Later' sounds underdeveloped, 'If Your Run' saunters with plenty of trepidation, Eg's vocals unsure and tentative, and closing number 'Out Turn Will Come' ends the album in relief rather than triumph.
What rankles is that the production is weak, as if the songs are still in development and waiting to be picked up by the next pop strumpet churned out from the factory. Eg White should concentrate on writing number one hits for other artists; sure it's not the same as getting the glory all for yourself, but then again Adventure Man is a self indulgent effort and perhaps the universal yawn that is certain to greet the album will keep White in the background doing what he does best.