Martin Hadegaard was Denmarks winner of the X Factor series & despite releasing a turgid first single has now produced a very tight pop album which I've had for a few weeks now and its one of the best pop releases of 2008. With the help of Remee, who judged the contest, the affair kicks off with his second single, Show The World (Remee/Lucas/Troelsen), which is also no.1 in Denmark (Europop geekfact point: he has two singles in the Danish top ten at the time of writing!). With his signature vocals, Martin channels Michael Jackson and his sisters on the title track, which coming in at three minutes long, is an essential Dontstopthepop classic pop tune. The track is like a tribute to Michael Jacksons Rock This World, and in fact, as the song progresses it suddenly evolves into a condensed Michael Jackson Greatest Hits album. Martin confesses that he's gonna tell the world about the love he has for this someone special and that "he's kinda hard". All of which is backed-up by glorious discofunk melody thats so slick it'll have you sliding around the dancefloor. See the simply yet very effective video below:
With the discofunk stomper done with, Martin keeps the pace going with his amazing tribute to Stevie Wonder who even gets a few namechecks. Yes, When I am With You (R.Braager/M.Winther/T.Mcewan/L.Dissing) is perhaps the catchiest song I've heard this year by a male singer. The quality of the first two songs is absolutely unrivaled in the history of albums by X Factor winners. It is by the 3rd track that secures Martin's place as a singer beyond any TV show stereotype. Its called Report To The Dancefloor (Remee/Lucas/Troelsen). Its nothing but pure addictive disco pop of the type we've not heard since Gloria Gaynor and The Three Degree's. When he sings, nay chants, 'I report to the Disco' I am reminded of Kylie's Your Disco Needs You. Report To The Dancefloor retraces some of Michael Jacksons best ever moments but also reinforces the notion that this album is sheer brilliance.
After the ballad-by-numbers, Never The Same (something Westlife would herald as groundbreaking by their standards but to the rest of the pop world is perhaps 'quite traditional' especially compared to the previous numbers), comes the excellent Mission Impossible. Written by Remee/Lucas/Troelsen team, this song is a chorus over another chorus. The second verse of each verse is kinda repeated but with additional "Oooos" in the Kylie/2 Hearts sense which makes Mission Impossible wonderfully constructed. The flute break-down is reminiscent of the excellent Spice Girls Never Give Up On The Good Times while the following middle eight takes us right back to Micheal Jacksons Thriller. Amazing.
Where Do We Go is another ballad but its rather sweet. It takes me back to Robbie William's Angels and She's the One. It breezes by with ease and will never move mountains. But its okay. Probably realising that Martin's strongest points are when he "pops" it up the powers that be follow up every slow moment with a stomping dance track and Music Under My Skin does exactly that. It sounds a lot like N*Sync's finest moment besides Tearin' Up My Heart, the legendary song Pop! As such, Music Under my Skin is slightly past its sell by date but in this particular context this shouldn't actually be held that against the Martin/Woodcock composition. It harks back to the illustrious U.S pop scene of 1999 and 2000 when Mr.Timberlake's boyband scored hits alongside Backstreet Boys, A*Teens and to a lesser extent Boys N Girls United and those girls Innosence. A good thing.
Next up is another ballad but this time its executed wonderfully. This song, called Frozen, blissfully works. Jesse McCartney probably is enduring endless sleepless nights that Frozen isnt on his release. Ryan Tedder is probably strettin' that he didn't come up with it. Part ballad, part dance song and entirely epic. Written by McEwan/Dissing/Sommer, Frozen will have you hitting replay the moment its finished for you'll be thinking "Wait, what happened there-what was song all about?".
What is it about that Remee/Lucas/Troelsen gang? The moment Rock The Party starts, Martin puts the likes of Solange I Decided (both Freemasons and single mix I am talking about here) to shame. Martin belts Rock The Party out and evolves into a 2008, Danish, blonde amalgamation of The Supremes, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Ahem. Its as if the Greatest hits of Motown have been pureed into one fine song & boy its good. They keep it simple with the chorus: "out of the blue, the dream comin true, whatever we do we're gonna rock the party." Which is the best way to do it. You'll sniff a glorious mash-up of Jackson5's ABC and I Want You Back in Rock The Party.
The next track, Girls Girls Girls, is seriously dud and a tad embarrassing. It turns Martin into Steve Smith, the son of Stan Smith (of American Dad). Martin confesses he doesn't know anything about girls, "he's dreadin' and pumpin", "he's kinda young but not too young", and the immortal creepy line "don't be a fool-get back to school". Awkward...
Magic Lover saves us. With its hand-claps and electro beats, its a deep blue disco song that recalls the joints of the 1970's (what I've read and seen in movies anyways). Touches of a brass-section finishes of a wonderful shine to the entirely classy song. Barry White would be most pleased about Magic Lover if he was alive. The Secret starts off like Robyn's Underneath The Heart. Its a ballad but its constructed wonderfully. It really allows the purity of Martin's somewhat choir boy voice come to shine through. Its more Stay (Shakespeare Sister) than all that as preceded the track on the album. The Secret (Remee/Troelsen) is a great track to end the album with. Slightly cosmic, its the most unusual song on the album but as such guarantee's the album as a key recommendation for pop album of year. Martin is allowed to leave his comfort zones of pop, funk and crooner, and becomes a singer with real edge.
In conclusion, the Remee/Lucas/Troelsen songs are the best on Show The World. They allow you to dance, tap your feet, bop away but also proffer opportunities for Martin to develop into a distinct singer and not some product from another T.V series. Indeed, his voice is very unique and it seems as if Remee et al wrote the songs most fitting for Martin and as a result its their compositions that really shoot above the rest. I won't mention his cover of Queen's Somebody To Love and Martins debut single The 1. Its not that they're awful, well the later is, its just they don't actually bring anything to table. Whereas songs like Rock The Party, When I'm With You, Report To The Dancefloor, and the title track belong to the catchiest pop song box of 2008. I can leave the ballads, which are okay as ballads go, but two (The Secret/Frozen) are out of the world and well worth it. A great pop album and wonderful start to Martins career.