Album: Craig David, Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Universal)

Stevie, Marvin, Craig David...The crowd say, No selecta!
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The Independent Culture

Don't know about you, but there's never been a time when I've listened to Otis Redding singing "[Sittin' on] The Dock of the Bay" and haven't thought, you know, fair effort mate, but what that song really needs is to be covered by some woolly-hatted, micro-bearded bloke from Southampton.

It's a time-honoured trick, of course. Major label star, not as popular as they used to be, ordered by the record company to record a cover version in one last throw of the dice. The other explanation is that the artist has simply run out of inspiration and is resorting to other people's songs because they have nothing left in the tank.

It all started so well for Craig David, emerging cockily from the Artful Dodger's shadow and shaping up as a British R Kelly (before we were fully up to speed with what being R Kelly actually entailed), but as his popularity declined, he suffered the indignity not only of being witlessly mocked by Leigh Francis, but having to play along with Francis' latex-chinned impression for fear of looking like a bad sport. So, I can see why David, or his people, deemed it necessary to stop the rot with a selection of mostly Motown cover versions.

I just wish I didn't have to hear it. It's like swimming threw sewage. "One More Lie" is technically a Craig David original which lifts a sample from "Standing in the Shadows of Love", but from then on it's the most obvious assortment of standards imaginable: "I Heard it Through the Grapevine", "For Once in My Life", "Just My Imagination", you get the picture.

Not once does he venture off-piste, not once does he unearth an underrated gem, not once does he sing anything you can't imagine Olly Murs murdering on The X Factor's Motown week. Every song is given a gloopy karaoke production with the odd shuffling breakbeat underneath to remind you what century this is, and every song is delivered with the astonishingly arrogant assumption that this man's very ordinary voice is somehow an improvement on that of Stevie, Marvin or Eddie Kendricks. Craig David singing "Let's Stay Together" when the Al Green version is still freely available? In the immortal words of Paul Calf, I'd rather see Dave Lee Travis play Macbeth.