Olly Murs, a 28-year-old English singer-songwriter, has finally arrived on the American music scene. After major success in the United Kingdom — four No. 1 singles and two No. 1 albums — it certainly seems like the “right time.”
Murs, who finished second on the sixth season of the U.K.’s “The X Factor,” bursts forward with an album that sounds quite fresh to the ears. In a music industry inhabited by generic beats and auto-tuned singers, this is a welcome addition. The album is predominately pop but borrows sounds from a number of different genres, including jazz, R&B and funk.
The American release of “Right Place Right Time” is a collection of songs from the U.K. version of the same name and his second U.K. effort “In Case You Didn’t Know.”
The opener “Army of Two” begins with dramatic orchestration and quickly shifts to a soldier-marching beat as Murs chants, “I came, I saw, tore down these walls / Block one way, I’ll find another / You know you’ll always be discovered.”
The military-themed song is backed by continuous drums and lyrically depicts an intense relationship. A subject matter such as love, which can often feel stale, stays fresh and refined within the military mold.
A highlight of the album,“Hey You Beautiful,” is filled with just the right amount of funk and disco beats.
“Hand on Heart” speaks of a back-and-forth between two lovers and contains a repetitive yet catchy chorus bound to stick in your brain for hours on end.
While the album’s melodies are unique and often quirky, the lyrics shine just as bright. Murs co-wrote nine of the 10 songs present here.
The title track “Right Place Right Time” finds Murs singing over the most dance-influenced song on the record. The production allows both Murs and the instrumentation to shine, creating a classy artistic blend.
Murs borrows help from two rappers on the record. “Heart Skips a Beat,” the lead single released back in May 2012, features Chiddy Bang during the bridge. While Chiddy’s rap is not bad per se, the verse adds nothing new to the song and feels tacked on.
However, “Troublemaker,” the second and current single from the album, features Flo Rida and feels more at home.
Still, with both songs being released as singles, Murs’ label seems to lack the confidence in him to handle a track on his own. The features make sense for radio and have seen moderate success, but Murs is certainly hip enough without any assistance.
Easily the most heart-wrenching song on the record is the closing track “Dear Darlin’.” The song borrows elements from ’60s pop and mixes them with modern beats without sounding dated.
Murs belts: “Dear darlin’, please excuse my writing / I can’t stop my hands from shaking / ‘cause I’m cold and alone tonight.”
The track is not only lyrically moving, but Murs delivers what is perhaps the best vocal performance on the record. “Dear Darlin’” is a perfect closing track, leaving listeners heartbroken while craving more.
“Right Place Right Time” serves as a stunning introduction for Murs who can easily find a permanent place on pop radio.
Hopefully his U.K. fans will be able to share him with their mates across the pond as this is just the start for Murs in the U.S.