en: Turn It On [info]
Ronan Keating's third solo album is described as the chance for the public to see the real Ronan. Such statements are usually a warning to people that we are about to witness some kind of transformation. And certainly, when this album first reached my ears, I actually thought that I'd put the wrong CD on. His voice has changed in that it's deeper, more rugged and he sounds a lot older. It's hard to believe that he's still only 26 - not bad for someone who's sold 17 million albums.
But apparently this isn't the point - the real Ronan isn't just more mature and husky (despite what the vest top modelling on the album cover is clearly trying to tell us). No, the new Ronan is 'Ronan the Songwriter'. He has writing credits on all ten of the original tracks here, the two cover versions aside. This achievement would possibly be more impressive if there wasn't such a glittering set of heavyweight songwriters to help him out. These include David Frank (Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle"), Wayne Hector (Boyzone and Westlife regular) and in particular Paul Barry (the brains behind Cher's "Believe" and Enrique Iglesias' "Hero"). So whilst it's great to think that Ronan has reached the point where he wants to share his songwriting talent with us, he clearly still isn't confident enough to write alone and risk not selling records.
"Turn It On Again", the album's opener, is the most upbeat song on what is a fairly sober album. Written by Ricky Ross, it does remind me slightly of Deacon Blue's "Chocolate Girl". It's an upbeat, melodious tune which is destined to be a single.
Other highlights include "Last Thing On My Mind" which features vocals from LeAnn Rimes and "Let Her Down Easy", an old Terence Trent D'Arby song. Otherwise there's not much to recommend. "She Believes (In Me)" is a particularly sickly 'tears on your pillow' ballad!
Turn It On is sure to satisfy Ronan's many followers but with its lightweight selection of easy listening love songs I doubt he'll win too many new fans.