Tuesday, 1 June 2010

2005 Steve Brookstein: Against All Odds

Third eighties revival on the bounce, and the second outing here for this Phil Collins song following Mariah Carey and Westlife's 2000 version. And to continue with the ongoing trends, Steve Brookstein appears here as the inaugural winner of 'The X Factor', another television talent show that in fact replaced Pop Idol with 'Against All Odds' being his debut single. And by the 'x factor' I'm assuming that the organisers behind the show had identifying someone with that certain spark of something that marks out a true talent the way X marks the spot on a treasure map in mind, but if that is the case then, on the evidence of this at least, Brookstein's buried chest is full of fools gold.

There's no doubt that the man can sing; even a cursory listen reveals that much. To go further, I'm happy to admit I'd rather hear this version than either Phil's squally original or Carey and Westlife's bombastic take. However, Brookstein himself mines no secrets from the source material and locates no hidden depths other than faithfully replicating what's there on the surface. Can Brookstein be blamed for that? Maybe there is nothing more there to be mined, but even so Brookstein makes no attempt to make the song his own other than to paste his own 'Steve Brookstein' vocal over the backing tune. Hardly the 'X factor' is it? Anyone could do that, couldn't they? Well yes they could, and had Brookstein done as much without the benefit of prime time, multi media exposure then I doubt this harmless roll of souvenir woodchip would have caught anyone's ear. In fact, his next single, 'Fighting Butterflies', released in 2006 (long after the hullabaloo was over) only managed to reach 193 in the chart. Which seems more like the 'Z Factor' to me. The prosecution rests.

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