Review Summary: Rockferry is a classic example of music that works. There are no cheap gimmicks or overproduction, it is an album that truly stands for what music today should be.
For some people striving for fame, they forget what a difficult road it can be; not just reaching success, but being able to stand the pressure when you get to the top. The young Welsh soul singer, Duffy, reached fame with her debut album Rockferry
in 2008. The album showed complete raw emotion from the singer, giving her a feeling of exposure, something she had never really felt before. Now that she has reached the top, she openly admits to having struggles with the openness she feels now. In an interview, the singer stated that at one in fifteen performances she begins crying on stage because of a feeling she cannot explain. After her album dropped, she even considered become a recluse, but later decided against it, not wanting to let down her fans.
Despite the troubles she has with fame, Duffy spent five years working on the piece that would reach her there. Five years of writing and recording what would become Rockferry
. The sweat and tears that Duffy shed are definitely worth the musical piece of art that is her voice. Some would consider Duffy apart of the recent 60’s revival movement with the likes of Amy Winehouse, without all the drug abuse and stunts and rehab. Duffy was the one saying “no-no-no” this time.
consists of ten songs, each co-written by Duffy herself. The first of which, the title track Rockferry
, is easily the strongest song out of the ten because of the powerful vocals that Duffy uses throughout. The song begins with a simple and soft melody, with a light taste of vocals. “I'd move to Rockferry, to my road/and I'd build my house baby, with sorrow/I'll leave my shadow, to fall behind,” allowing for an easy introduction that builds into the loud echoing climax of the song. “There’s no sleep on the journey, away from town/A bag of songs and a heavy heart, won't make me doubt/I give it all my strength and my mind/I'll make this decision, win all the fights.” Equaling out to one of the highest points of the album, Rockferry
shows a huge range in vocals and emotion in just four short minutes.
The album takes a contrasting turn when the third track comes around. Serious
is much unlike Rockferry
because of its severe lack of emotion that the title track clearly defined in Duffy’s voice. Serious
is the least standout track of all ten, not just because of its lack of emotion, but its lack of originality as well. The style of singing used (particularly in the chorus) is just slow and soft singing of the word “serious” with the use of too many backup singers. Serious
is a good song in terms of soul music, but that is just because of the fact that this style is a common, and nearly cliché style used in the genera by many.
The most recognized song on the album, Mercy
is what could be describe as Rockferry
’s saving grace track. Duffy often tells the story about how she wrote Mercy just as the album was being wrapped up in production, and barely even made it on the final cut. While Mercy
is not the best song on the album, it had a hint of pop and spunk that album would be greatly lacking without. In context of the album [b]Mercy[b] throws in a curve ball as a change in sound that makes for just a noticeably more interesting listen overall. The song features a bouncy, “You got me beggin' you for Mercy (yeah yeah yeah)/Why won't you release me (yeah yeah yeah),” that is Duffy speaking out about her personal need to break free from normality. Perhaps the song could be a brief reference to her admitted troubling childhood involving a woman paying a hitman to try to kill her stepfather, resulting in the singer having to be placed in a safe house at age thirteen.
draws to a close with the open and free Distant Dreamer
, provides a nice light and airy closing to an excellent , but much too short debut. The producers too felt that the album was much too short, and just a short time after the album had originally dropped a deluxe edition was released featuring all ten original tracks plus a second disk of seven more brand new songs. One of which was a new single, Rain On Your Parade
. Rain On Your Parade
draws similarities to Mercy
but features a more disco tone with a darker and more revengeful Duffy, contrasting the seemingly kind and light hearted side of Duffy experienced on the original cut.
“I pity the fools who bathe in you
'Cause I know someday now they'll see your colors too
And if you see a smile besides my face, no, I'm doing good now
Since you've been erased
'Cause I know in time you'll see what you did to me
And you'll come running back
I'm gonna rain on your parade, no, I won't take it again
And I'll keep raining, raining, raining over you”
Another one of the re-release’s seven songs is Oh Boy
. A simple little melody that shows a newer form of the soft side of Duffy that is lighthearted and emotionally frail, much like the singer herself. This song is a perfect example of when a re-release works very well, each one of these seven songs work perfectly in sync with the original ten, acting like the final period of a sentence.
is an album that downright works. It is hard to explain how or why but it just has the right musical formula that a listener from any musical background and sit down and thoroughly enjoy every minute of Duffy’s wonderful and highly original singing voice. To say if the singer will be around to produce another work like this is hard to say as only time will tell if Duffy can stand the pressure. We can only hope.