Album review

Richard X :
Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1

Virgin Records

Richard X : Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1In the world of music, collaborations can be a decidedly mixed bag. When it comes to Richard X's new offering, X-Factor Vol. 1, the bag has never been so mixed. The wide array of artists featured on this album includes Sugababes, Kelis, The Flying Lizards' Deborah Stickland-Evans, Popstars 'reject' Javine, Norway's Annie, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, electro-pop luminary Tiga and Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul fame. Oh, and former Radio One DJ Mark Goodier. Yes, I know. I wondered what the fuck was going on as well. Then I played the record . . .
    To say that this album is inspired would be nothing more than a clichéd understatement. Unfortunately, clichéd understatements are all I've got. Each and every track on this album is an absolute gem of infuriatingly good pop. Yes, pop. This is a pop record. A pop record. It's a pop record. But its genius. It's a genius pop record. I still don't get it. It's . . . I don't get it. I'm not saying pop can't be genius - just not this kind of genius. There are six people on this album who are famed for being on Popstars for Christ's sake!

Take Lemon/Lime featuring Deborah Evans-Stickland, an example of how Kraftwerk might have sounded if they'd eaten more Haribo. "Right, wrong, Elton John." That is both the most stupid and the most fantastic lyric I've heard in years. "Armageddon, David Sneddon." No wait, that's the most stupid and the most fantastic lyric I've heard in years. "Cheap sex, Richard X." That right there is the lyric that encapsulates what this album is. It's cheap sex. It's Richard X. Cheap sex is one of life's most base things, and maybe that's what makes it so fucking good. This is nothing more than just under 50 minutes of synthetic pop. It also happens to be a genre-fucking masterpiece. All at the same time. I still don't get it. What is it? Where did it come from? It's . . . inspired.
    The fantastic Rock Jacket is described as 'Richard X reinterprets the music of Gary Kemp and Spandau Ballet' - who does that? The Liberty X collaboration Being Nobody and You Used To featuring Javine leave you thinking that maybe Pete Waterman should be allowed to live after all, Just Friends featuring Annie is an outstanding trancy breakbeat dance track, You (Better Let Me Love You x4) Tonight featuring Tiga sounds like Depeche Mode doing a Har Mar Superstar cover remixed by The Chemical Brothers and Jarvis Cocker collaboration Into U is probably what they play in the lift as you make your way up to the gates of heaven.
    If there can possibly be a highlight on an album as perfect as this, it's the cover of Walk On By, again featuring Deborah Evans-Stickland. Words fail me.

With Richard X Presents X-Factor Vol. 1, Richard X hasn't just raised the bar; he's run off with the bar, thrown it up in the air, got it stuck in a rather large tree, and skipped away sniggering to himself. Richard X - I don't know what he is . . .

:: Philip Goodfellow

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