“Shy” is the debut album of 2009 X Factor alumna, Stacey Solomon. In a recent interview she said she was offered the opportunity to make a covers album after she left the programme, but declined the offer because she wanted to wait until she could find a deal which offered her what she wanted to do.
“Shy” has been a work in progress for Stacey for several years, but the finished product is definitely worth it. Starting with the title track, co-written by James Bryan McCollum, Martin Terefe and Rita Ora, Stacey shows us what to expect from the rest of the album. A bluesy track, with a medium tempo, “Shy” shows off her powerful voice, in a tale of what ifs, and “You’ll never know if you never try”.
Segueing nicely into “Shy” comes “Breath Away”. Here Stacey does a very good impression of Duffy, and for good reason – the song was co-written by Duffy and Albert Hammond. It’s a very 60s style song, showing how much Solomon has matured. It’s clear she’s a very different woman to who she was straight from the X Factor.
Following this is a lovely cover of Coldplay’s “Gravity”, before we come to “Only You Will Do”, the first of 6 songs on this album written or co-written by Stacey herself. And here we see Solomon really come to the fore. The whole album is one which Dusty Springfield would have been proud to make, with the 60s vibe and songs of loves won and loves lost. It leads into “The Way We Was” (Stacey Solomon, Ray Hedges and Nigel Butler), a light and airy number which we really enjoyed.
“I Hope You’re Happy”, co-written by Solomon with Mike City, is a bluesy break up song in which you can really hear Stacey’s pain – she sings about being free and happy, with lyrics like, “Weight off of my shoulders” – but she doesn’t sound happy! A beautiful, heart-wrenching song.
“Perfect You”, another co-written by Stacey, this time with Boo Hewerdine and Jon Kelly, is a slow, delicate and poignant song. She follows this with “Dream in Blue” (Stacey and Jon Kelly again, this time with John Parricelli), which features the beautiful lyric, “I’ll never be the blue you need in the colours of your heart”.
“My Big Mistake”, written by Lily Allen, Martin Terefe and Glen Scott, is another one where Stacey does a very good impression of someone else, this time the mock-Cockney of Lily Allen. With a reggae beat and 80s tempo, it’s a fun song, but it is however “Too Late to Love Me Now”, which was written by Solomon alone, which is our favourite on the album. It’s another song of heartbreak, and the sadness throughout is evident in the piano and strings. With the refrain, “It’s too late to love me now”, the listener feels like we’re having a fly on the wall glance at Stacey’s life – love and heartbreak everywhere – the line “Nothing’s gonna change and nothing’s gonna stay the same” is particularly touching.
“Shy” finishes off with an up tempo calypso cover of the Johnny Cash standard, “I Walk the Line”. With ukelele and steel drums, it’s a cheerful end to a great album.