Voice Of A Rebel: Jedward’s Fourth Album Still Stands Out One Year Since Release

Jedward’s fourth album, ‘Voice Of A Rebel’ was released one year ago today, 27 June 2019. Their first with their new label Universal Music Singapore, the release comprises 22 tracks, all written and produced by John and Edward themselves.

At the time we wrote a glowing review of the record, which you can read here. But does the album stand the test of time, particularly in the new world we’re living in, with COVID-19, political turmoil, and social upheaval?

In short, yes. On Christmas Day, long before Corona meant anything beyond a fancy name for a crown, a Mexican beer brand, or an Irish rock band, I wrote about track 20, ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, declaring that we could make a positive change in the world with even the smallest decisions:

RIGHT NOW I DARE YOU TO CHANGE THE WORLD’. We as individuals don’t have to change the entire world ourselves, but by doing something different, no matter how small, we are automatically making changes – taking a different direction, following another path. Our actions affect those around us – just look at the recent UK elections. But we don’t all have to be Greta Thunberg, or environmentalists, or get arrested protesting in Washington DC every Friday (But we can if we want to). We don’t all have to get into political life to change the world. We don’t have to physically go anywhere to make changes: it can be a change in attitude or something we do differently in our home. We can decide to be saddened by the state of the world or we can decide to look at how we can enact positive change.

We’ve literally seen this happen this year, in the wake of the horrific murder of George Floyd and others such as Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, at the hands of police. The Black Lives Matter movement has become a powerful force to be reckoned with, not just in the United States of America,  but all around the world. Despite having been in quarantine since the advent of quarantine back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people were so strongly affected that they put looking after their health on hold to march peacefully in protest. This often had the consequence of sparking police violence, but it’s also seen a wider consciousness of the injustices people of colour have been subjected to all over the world throughout history. The toppling in Bristol of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the River Avon – just deserts when considering Colston did that himself to slaves in order to save weight in his ships – saw an international condemnation of similar statues, including that of King Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold was known for atrocities such as genocide, slavery, torture, and dismemberment in the Belgian Congo.

That’s just one song on the album. Do the rest still hold up after a year of playing? Yes they do. If anything, the songs on ‘Voice Of A Rebel’ sound even better now than they did before. ‘Kid At Heart’, and ‘Teenage Runaway’ have provided me with many mantras for getting through my year, on top of being brilliant songs. The chorus and first verse of ‘Kid At Heart’ are particularly poignant reminders that age is just a number:

Make believe ain’t ever out of reach
Won’t you be a kid at heart today
You gotta love what you do
Always be true to yourself
Remember you’re alive, be a kid at heart

You gotta let yourself taste the freedom
Case there’s a reason that you’re here, its time to imagine
You gotta let yourself taste the freedom
Remember you’re alive, be a kid at heart

Come on, cast your fears aside
And speak what’s on your mind
Don’t let society wash your colour out
You ain’t faded yet, lose the fear and doubt

Likewise, ‘Teenage Runaway’ also speaks to the idea of being true to yourself despite your age or circumstances:

Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough
And a little different, well don’t give up
We’ll support each other through the highs and lows
Cause you’re built for something greater then you know

Reminiscent of Katy Perry’s song, ‘Firework’, with the lines,

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting thought the wind
Wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing

Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you

’Teenage Runaway’ is a song of empowerment, of knowing your true worth, of recognising that your value doesn’t depend on the opinion of others. It’s also a rocking good love song too, born out of the twins’ own life experiences.

Although not exactly a concept album, ‘Voice Of A Rebel’ nonetheless takes the listener from the heartbreak of the end of a relationship right through to the elation at the realisation that the person in their new relationship is the right one, as seen in 10th track, ‘True Calling’.

Unlike most love songs however, all those on ‘Voice Of A Rebel’ are empowering and have messages that can be applied to situations outside romantic love. A good example of this is ‘Respect Your Dreams’, which from one angle could simply be a lover encouraging their beloved that they’re worthy of more than they see for themselves: from another it’s clear that the song is one which encourages the listener to look at themselves with a more loving and less critical eye:

Respect your dreams
Go live your life
Don’t write yourself off
Put up a fight, oh
Protect your heart
From those who hate

Respect your dreams
It’s not too late

‘Voice Of A Rebel’ is as fresh – more so even – as it was when it was released a year ago today, and deserves to be listened to every single day. Every song stands up to listening in sequence or by itself – there’s not one song that can be said to be filler. I’ve not even touched on the production values of the album, but I’ll quickly add that John and Edward clearly have a lot of talent when it comes to knowing exactly how to put a song together in the studio; listen on CD if you can and turn it up  to 11 – it’s here you’ll be able to fully appreciate the many different layers of instruments and vocals, and just how much work has gone into it.

You can – and you SHOULD – stream and download ‘Voice Of A Rebel’ here, and buy the CD from Jedward’s official website. They will be touring the UK this coming August, with tickets and further information available here.

Jedward can be found online on their official websiteTwitterFacebookInstagramTumblrSnapchat, and YouTube.

Read all our other Jedward articles here.

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com

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