In a recent poll conducted by NME magazine and the book of British Hit Singles and Albums, Oasis's Definitely Maybe was voted the greatest album of all time, fending off such paltry efforts as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Revolver. According to Q magazine, the imaginatively titled Razorlight is the best guitar album since Definitely Maybe. Following this train of thought to it's conclusion, it would be only logical to surmise that Razorlight was one of - if not the - greatest albums of all time. I have nothing but sympathy and sadness for the world where this is true.
Where Razorlight falls short of it's (admittedly mediocre) predecessor is the noticeable lack of strong singles. First track and single "In the Morning" has none of the appeal of dance floor favorites "Rip It Up" and "Golden Touch". Up All Night had a handful of catchy though unoriginal tracks to keep it afloat, while Razorlight is not so lucky - sinking under the weight of plodding no-hoper's like "America" and "Hold On". There are no memorable riffs and nothing remotely fresh. Having had such a "popular" debut, Razorlight would have had the backing to take their music in any number of exciting new directions. If anything, they take a step backwards. The bands new sound is almost certainly leveled towards the American market, an attempt to succeed where the likes of The Libertines failed.
Lyrically, Razorlight is a dull blade and not worthy of the Bob Dylan comparisons that front man Johnny Borrell lavishes upon himself. There are accusations of the album being anthemic, but with its uninspired lyrics it's hard to understand why, particularly when the band go so far as to recycle lyrics from song to song - see "In The Morning" and "Kirby's House". Perhaps Razorlight is an attempt by Borrell to create a cohesive narrative, a concept album even. If that is the case, the experiment has been a failure. Each track blends lazily into the next. On "In the Morning", Borrell tells us that 'in the morning, [you know] you won't remember a thing' and the sad thing, for Razorlight, is that he's right. Razorlight leaves no real lasting impression on the listener; bland and ordinary at best, cringe-worthy at worst (see "Back to the Start").
It's difficult to hate Razorlight, but it's also virtually impossible to like it. If you do, for some reason, feel compelled to go out and buy this album, I'd recommend trying the second-hand bins before you shell out the full price. They should be overflowing with this record in a couple of weeks.
2.0 / 10
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