On several occasions, Conor Maynard has been called "Britain's answer to Justin Bieber." And, after hearing his debut album, "Contrast," I can see the similarities. But, although I cringe to laud the "Biebs," it's a disservice to compare them too closely.
The singles that Maynard has released are genius. Granted, anything with Ne-Yo will be successful and head-bopping good, and "Turn Around" doesn't disappoint. Other gems include "Vegas Girl," which has already hit the American airwaves, and "Can't Say No," which peaked on the U.K. Charts at No. 2 and will likely succeed here as well.
We've had another British invasion of sorts, it seems, and Maynard is content enough to ride along the wave of tousled hair, skinny pants, and chippy tunes. But while the other phonebooth-climbing boys have other members of their band to keep the vocals interesting, Maynard stands alone. That being said, it's hard not to give him credit simply for thwarting the American tween-culture without back-up boy candy surrounding him.
Unfortunately, though his voice is pop-perfect, it's not unique enough to carry interest through an entire album. The three singles are good enough to hear a few times over, but the rest of the album falls flat when it comes to intrigue. The next best track is "Better than You", which features Rita Ora.
Maynard is young, and he's got plenty of time to develop his craft. But, for the time being, his best work on "Contrast" is in collaboration with another artist (the exception is "Vegas Girl", but even such an intricate tempo grows old after too many like-minded sequels).
Many of the songs on "Contrast" sound exactly like the one that came before it. While I'd be interested in hearing future albums from him, I wouldn't go as far as to compare him to Bieber quite yet. That is, unless those who first suggested the similarity meant the transition from school boy pop prince to relatively decent musical artist. In that case, I'll remain cautiously hopeful.