When Olly Murs rose to fame on The X Factor in 2009, finishing as the runner-up to Joe McElderry, who actually thought he would go on not only to be one of the most successful contestants from the show but also the leading male pop artist in the UK? The honest answer is probably not many people but the cheeky popstar has carved a nice for himself in a crowded industry that has seen him consistently sell huge amounts of records and enjoy remarkable success. All four of his studio albums have sold upwards of 800,000 copies in the UK alone, with two of them passing the million sales mark and three of them topping the charts. He’s also scored 16 Top 40 singles with several of them certified platinum.
Last week Murs released his fifth album 24 HRS, the follow-up to 2014’s Never Been Better. Since the release of his last album, streaming has impacted on the charts and it seems to have affected Murs’ prowess as a consistent singles artist. 24 HRS lead single You Don’t Know Love peaked at number 15 and follow-up Grow Up has yet to enter the Top 40. Murs has spoken out about his disappointment citing the influence of streaming in chart data as the reason. It’s true to say that a large portion of the popstar’s audience is probably not the right demographic for streaming.
Regardless there’s a lot of buzz around 24 HRS and anyone who has picked up any of Murs’ previous albums will know exactly what to expect. 24 HRS continues to explore the mature pop sound that Murs has made his own and across the record he pushes his sound into new areas musically. You Don’t Know Love opens the album and to be honest it should have easily been a Top 10 smash for him. The beat-driven electro-pop song is one of the finest that he’s released to date and it’s a little more adult and darker than his previous releases.
At the heart of 24 HRS is the same kind of pop sensibilities that have made Murs the huge star he is today. There’s nothing here that will alienate his fan base and his music still has that broad appeal it’s always had. He changes things up a little by adding a female vocal from Chelcee Grimes on the chorus for the funky Deeper, emerges himself in electro-pop rhythms for title track 24 Hrs, and uses a variety of vocal effects on the dreamy Better Than Me.
Current single Grow Up is one of the standout moments on the album. The acoustic ballad is a break up song that showcases Murs’ vocals off well as he sings about wanting to patch up a relationship. Closing track Flaws is another moment where Murs shows his growth as a vocalist, accompanied only by piano.
Fans of Murs’ pure pop sound will lap up tracks such as the mid-tempo Unpredictable and the falsetto-filled disco of Private. Read My Mind is another highlight with its pulsating beats and catchy chorus.
24 HRS does progress Murs’ sound in places but it doesn’t do anything so bold that it’ll upset the singer’s massive fanbase. Think of the album as a progression rather than an evolution and you won’t be disappointed. If you’ve followed him this far, the chances are you’ll love this release too. Olly Murs has found his own lane when it comes to pure pop and this is another collection of solid tunes.
Track Listing: 1. You Don’t Know Love 2. Years & Years 3. Grow Up 4. Unpredictable 5. Back Around 6. Deeper 7. 24 Hrs 8. Private 9. Love You More 10. Read My Mind 11. Better Than Me 12. Flaws Record Company: RCA Release Date: 11th November 2016