In his second album release in the states (fourth in the U.K.), Olly Murs delivers a fun and energetic album in Never Been Better. The former X-Factor runner-up may be overly poppy in his music, but he does it in the best possible way. Funk, disco, and a touch of rap all color different points in the album. But it sounds like Murs sang them all with a smile. Starting off the bat strong with “Did You Miss Me,” Murs channels a little Michael Jackson and a bunch of funk. He then dives into fun-and-flirty, disco-flavored “Wrapped Up,” which features rapper Travis McCoy. Speaking of collaborators, Demi Lovato makes an appearance in “Up,” and her mezzo counters his tenor in amazing ways. Driving beats and bouncy lyrics keep you moving through most of the album, but he does try to slow it down with a couple of ballad-esque numbers. “Let Me In” was done with “the Modfather” Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council), and it melds piano and guitar in a plaintive, hopeful tune, but his wistful “Tomorrow” fell a little flat, coming out as pretty but with no emotional punch. There’s no denying that Olly Murs is a talented pop artist who knows how to mix his inspirations into high-energy fun and catchy tunes. Columbia Records (columbiarecords.com). —Bradley Donalson
Bradley Donalson is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
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