Album Review: Naughty Boy - Hotel Cabana

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Rap and R&B are two genres that I don't normally listen to. No reason at all behind that choice - although I imagine it has something to do with growing up with an older brother who was into heavy metal. However, I do love a good underdog story - whether it be in films, books, sports, or just life in general. And that is the one and only reason that I decided to take an hour and a half out of my life to listen to Naughty Boy's début album 'Hotel Cabana'. I am wonderfully surprised by just how much of a solid and well-produced album it is. I am totally shocked by how good it is - I now like R&B! That is something I thought I would never see myself admitting to.

 

Due to the combination of The Prince's Trust funding him in the early years, and a solid £44,000 win on Deal Or No Deal, Naughty Boy was able to quit his job at Domino's Pizza and start recording his own stuff. This was back in 2005, and since then the guy has been writing some incredibly catchy songs that I now can't get out of my head. With the help of some very high-profile vocalists, this producer from Watford is able to live his dream. Now, while this wonderful story was the reason I started listening to this album, that is not the reason why it has found a prime location on my iPod. With this album, Naughty Boy has done something that I thought no one could do. He has taken names such as Ed Sheeran, Wretch 32, Tinie Tempah, Emile Sandé, and many, many more, and has still given this album depth; still given it a personality. It isn't just an album to show off Naughty Boy's writing capabilities and to give his musical allies a good vocal work-out. It has soul, it has meaning, and I utterly love it. The theme of the hotel is perfect, and throughout the album it is hinted at. Giving an album a theme is a brilliant idea that musicians don't do enough.

 

Of course, with any album there are notable highlights; 'Pluto'. which features Emile Sandé (who features heavily on this album) and Wretch 32, is the proud owner of my 'Most Catchiest Song Of 2013' award. Everything about this song screams through and through pop song; it is simply constructed and an easy listen, but the combination of Sandé's wonderful voice and Wretch 32's solid and faultless verses, really make this stand out as probably my best song on the album. Also, 'Lifted' - again featuring Mrs. Sandé - is another highlight. Again, it screams classic pop song, and for that reason alone I should dislike it because of what it is. Yet, there is some kind of charm that these songs produce that I cannot fault. They are just pure and simply fun to listen to.

 

While this album won't make it into my 'Best Albums Of The Year' playlist, it is still most definitely worth a listen if you are into rap and R&B. It is a showcase of both established talents and a perfect stepping stone to show the world just how much of a brilliant producer Naughty Boy is. 

Mark Wiglesworth

I am a student at the University of Portsmouth doing a Journalism and Media Studies degree who has an absolute passion for anything involving films or music. Give me any piece of media, I will do my best to review it.

Website: www.wix.com/wiglesm/reviews

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