SINGLE REVIEW: Matt Cardle – “Anyone Else”

Matt Cardle; he didn't start the fire, did he?

He didn’t start The Fire.

It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, 27-year-old Matt Cardle went from skateboarder to superstar, winning the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2010, beating out Cher Lloyd, One Direction and Rebecca Ferguson. Though he was part of several bands during the better half of the last decade, like Darwyn and Seven Summers, he is best known for wowing viewers on the show, taking the most votes each week since Week 2 of the ginals. He was on top of the world when his debut single, “When We Collide”, spent nearly a month at #1 on the U.K. Singles Chart, and to date, has sold over 1 million copies. His album, Letters, was also a success, entering at #2 on the Album Chart in 2011. However, during that era, it was clear that something just wasn’t clicking with the artist or his audience. Lead single “Run For Your Life” managed a modest #6, but declined pretty rapidly with no certification whatsoever. The next two singles, despite some promotional push, couldn’t even bust through the top 75. He was an obvious candidate for a contract cancellation, but that didn’t stop his passion for making music recording.

Now, being from the United States, I’ve seen some of his televised performances on YouTube and heard most of his single releases, but I don’t know a lot about the guy, although he does look like a cleaned-up version of Marcus Mumford if he wanted to go on the tribute band circuit. In all seriousness, he seems genuinely nice, though, and I’m sure he must have been disappointed and frustrated going from a major record label to no label and then to an independent one. There was much behind-the-scenes drama that I don’t need to go into (though you can view it in the comments below.) That being said, a lot of his stuff on his first album was glossy; overused strings was the main culprit, though vocally, it’s also a little bit overdramatic. His latest release, The Fire, finds Cardle in a most comfortable zone. It skews in a more alternative direction, which is probably what he wanted to do in the first place, and the use of less co-writers and producers makes it a more cohesive effort. It’s more real, more personal, more himself.

“Anyone Else”, Cardle’s latest single at an experienced 29-years-old, was written by he and Jeff Halatrax, who has produced for acts like Kevin Rudolf and Selena Gomez & The Scene in the past. It’s the followup to his leadoff single of a few months ago, “It’s Only Love”. With those names in mind, I’m guessing that maybe you thought he had gone for an electro-pop twist this time around. After all, it’s all the rage nowadays. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you if you’re we’re thinking that was the correct route. It’s not. “Only” treaded back into the more familiar territory of Cardle’s first album, though a little more restrained, but now, he provides a good balance of edgy vocals and pop/rock instrumentation in his latest release.

Right from the start, the guitar kicks in and you know this isn’t going to be a slow and sleepy ballad. No, this is a funky and a sassy number. Cardle shows a lot of growth particularly with this track over his last era; it’s a stomper with a pinch of an R&B throwback vibe, probably the closest that he flirts with the genre.  Speaking of flirting, how about those lyrics? That’s probably the biggest change if you’re a big fan of his and perhaps the focus of my draw to the song. To begin, “Get up, I’m ready, baby / For a little more if you’re feeling it / On top, go steady, baby / are you ready? are you ready?” There is far too much to dissect in just those few lines, but this no, “So, run for your life / Don’t leave me behind,” etc. This is a different kind of marathon, if you know what I mean. Let’s just say, I think that someone wasn’t satisfied with his other half at the time and decided that “the other woman” was an appropriate option to go to: “To make a little love to you was all I ever really needed.” Also, the intentional pause between “I don’t wanna” and “girls” in the next line… I see what you did there. Then, by the second verse, he’s already kicking out the girl and saying that he wants to go back to his girlfriend and rekindle the relationship. What gives? I mean, at least you could afford to pay for the taxi, maybe feed her something before she goes? She wasn’t good in bed, was she? Oh, I get it. Everybody has their standards, and writing about it is one way of dealing with the pain. I think that these days this is affectionately known as the Taylor Swift Method of writing. He, however, doesn’t need to sing about it in a immature manner to get across his point.

Cardle states that he wrote the song in Los Angeles and woke up one morning with a different take on some “stuff” that had gone on at the time. Much of the album, including “Anyone”, was inspired by a relationship with dancer Sarah Robinson.  (He’s now separated from her.) It would seem that she is the girlfriend/old lover figure in this story, but who is the other lady? We don’t know who Cardle actually chooses in the end, but I guess you can make your own mind up about that. He may tell his new lover to leave, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she won’t seduce him again. Hey, the girlfriend might not even want him back for breaking it off in the first time. All this time, he doesn’t seem upset in whatever decision he’s been making, so maybe he just wants to live the single life and fool around a bit. I don’t know, which means I’m reading too much into this song. It’s no “You’re So Vain”. However, this is absolutely his best single to date. From the harmonically on-point background vocalists to Cardle’s sweet (though sometimes strained) delivery and the solid group in his backing band, it’s an enjoyable whodunit of sorts. “Anyone” gets a single release in the U.K. on December 31. Don’t except this one to go soaring up the charts as it is an indie release, but if you’re looking for a quality single with a little bit of a punch, this may be the right choice before you starting looking for a similar track by “anyone else”. –AFS

Buy “Anyone Else” on AmazonMP3 (U.K. only.)

12 Comments

Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Single Reviews

12 responses to “SINGLE REVIEW: Matt Cardle – “Anyone Else”

  1. Julia

    I wonder why you put so much speculation into this.
    This may have been a nice philosophical write-up if you actually aimed for looking at it from an angle the odd listener might find themselves in while going over the lyrics in their mind. I don’t think that is what happend here, though.
    As a reviewer you could’ve put a little more effort in it. Like visiting Matt’s youtube channel and easily find the video where he breaks down his album track by track or just find loads of interviews all over the place where he talks about his ‘situation’, girlfriend- and label-wise, with great honesty and in detail.
    That being said … the technical side of this is a nice enough read 😉

    • Hey Julia,

      Thanks for the comment. I can’t seem to find the video you’re referring to. Is it on his VEVO account?

      I just think it’s an interesting track to follow lyrically between the two women involved, so I think I ended up just fleshing out my own confusion on who did what and what happened at the end and wrote a little too much. I tend to do that, haha. The video doesn’t really help either, although I like the idea being presented of the physical woman in the audience vs. the “ghost”(?) of the older flame taking over his imagination on the stage. See any of the other single reviews I did and you’ll see how much I do at deciphering lyrics. I knew the general information about his label/the inspiration for the album, but not a lot other than that. Just thought there was a lot you could do with it and this was my own reaction to it. I’m glad you did enjoy some of the post, though! I’ll keep your comments in mind for future single postings.

      • Julia

        You’ll find him on his non-vevo channel, too. http://www.youtube.com/mattcardlemusic
        But all you really need to do is search for “matt cardle track by track” or “matt cardle interview” (filter by upload date for last month). There’s more on there than you can shake a stick at 🙂
        It’s always so much better to hear facts directly from Matt than reading about what he presumably did or said by stupid, lazy or downright malicious hack writers.

        I also think it’s great you’re ok with our comments 🙂

      • Hey, I always like a good group of fans defending their artists. Shows you care a lot about how they’re treated, whether on the charts or in the press. To show passion is something to be admired. As long as you don’t go way overboard, then I’m totally cool with it. You all seem like a great group. I’ll be editing the post a tad bit after the watching the videos and taking some other things into consideration.

      • Julia

        Hello again 😉
        Just realised that the most info Matt gives on this song was actually during his october gigs – not an interview. Check it out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2dyITxPl7Y
        As for the skilfull pause between “wanna” and “girls” … at the gigs he leaves nothing to the imagination. He just pulls away from the mike for a second. But he sang it so loud some mobiles still recorded it. LOL! 🙂

  2. Matt played all of the instruments and sang all of the backing vocals on The Fire, except Lately where he and James Walsh created a gospel choir with just their two voices, so that “solid group in the baking band” was Matt recording each instrument separately and then masterfully mixing the tracks.

    • Wow, I had no clue it was just a lot of dubbing between the two of them. I thought for sure it was at least a trio or quartet of vocalists. Don’t exactly have the liner notes in front of me. Thanks for the info and commenting!

  3. As for Letters, Matt co-wrote the songs, except Run for Your Life and When We Collide, laid down a bunch of vocal tracks and then was basically locked out of the production process. He had no say in what vocals or instruments were used and was not allowed to even play acoustic guitar, of which he is a master, on his own album. Biff Stanard produced the album (many say over produced it) with no input from Matt. That is why he was determined to take back control of his own music, even if he had to leave a major label to do it. By the time the singles were coming out, Matt had already dropped Sony’s in-house mangement company and hired Will Talbot, a former employee of theirs as his manager. So it was obvious that there was a deep divide between Matt and Sony, even before Letters or any singles came out. As a result, except for the work that Will did, getting him on radio and TV shows, there was almost no promotion of Letters. Starlight, which had the potential to be a big hit, was never released as a single, just as a focus track. Sparks, another potential smash hit,(and was not on any album) was given to Amazon as a download exclusive. It was offered as a free download for the first month. It was the #1 download on Amazon UK for that month. Then they started charging for it and it still remained the # 1 download for several weeks, staying in the top 10 downloads for several more. But since Amazon only has a fraction of downlaod music traffic, most people have never knew it existed. I think he and his music were treated like this because of the management thing. So he left Sony. He was offered a contract with another major, but no more control than he had as Sony so he chose an indy. He is far more interested in the quality of his music than money.

    • It’s always sad when an artist or group doesn’t have a ton of control over their material. I understand that X Factor/Columbia/Syco obviously wanted to create an image for him, but I’m glad that Matt has most of the reins now over at So What instead of dealing with what you detailed over at the big guys. I hardly knew anything about it, so thanks for filling me in. Label politics are a whole other story. I’m pretty sure there are stories worse than his. I’m just glad he’s happy now and making the material he wants to with the people he wants to. I’ll eventually have the money to import a copy of his album so I can hear for myself. Yeah, I realize it’s all on YouTube nowadays, but I’d rather listen to some higher quality rips. Again, thanks for the comments. I appreciate it.

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