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Liam Payne - LP1 (Album Review)

Friday, 13 December 2019 Written by Milly McMahon

Liam Payne's graduation from One Direction member to solo star was engineered to feel like a sexy and confident hip hop evolution, twisted up with Justin Timberlake-esque cool. Alongside bringing a sense of maturity to the boy band icon’s attitude and music choices, smouldering portraits of the 26-year-old filtered through to the covers of glossy magazines everywhere.

Payne was apparently ready to sing explicitly about his highly powered sexuality. Unfortunately, on ‘LP1’ he does so with limited conviction or anything approaching sensuality. The problem here is the achingly rigid formula the singer adheres to—it is so lacking in originality or authenticity.

Speaking over and over again about sweat, foreplay and fantasies, ‘LP1’ may contain suggestive lyrics, but not one minute of its 55 results in a sexy mood.

On Live Forever, featuring Cheat Codes, even Liam sounds bored. Rude Hours, meanwhile, is a total cringe-fest where he fails to shed his existing sensibilities. Strip That Down is quite simply the most awkwardly British attempt at R&B the charts have ever endured.

Perhaps it's the delivery of the lyrics that feels so contrived and uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the forced image of this all-new thrusting and grinding Liam Payne. But, quite simply, the lack of diversity in his material leaves 'LP1' feeling entirely stagnant.

There's so much more to good R&B than singing about the exchanging of bodily fluids over and over. Even the most outrageous sex icons in music, such as Madonna or George Michael, explored contrasting themes and styles in their careers. He has a long way to go before he can contemplate a legacy even one tenth of theirs, but acknowledging their versatility would be a start.

Payne's album feels like a catalogue product: packaged and delivered complete with all the mod cons and relevant gimmicks, but without an ounce of style or design. These empty, soulless beats are too inappropriate for teeny boppers and entirely vacuous for adults. Liam, this is a painful listen.

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