Nik Kershaw

15 Minutes

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Despite a steady string of moderate hits in the U.K. and U.S. during the '80s, as well as a burgeoning career as a professional songwriter, Nik Kershaw chose to spend much of the '90s rather quietly. He worked behind the scenes as a songwriter, but following The Works in 1990, he didn't record for nearly a full decade. Finally, he returned to action in 1999 with 15 Minutes, an immaculately produced collection of modern mature pop. Kershaw always specialized in subtle, sophisticated pop, and that's what he delivers on 15 Minutes, albeit with a modernized sheen. There is a difference, however. Like his peers Nick Heyward and Howard Jones, Kershaw winds up making sophisticated, mature pop that feels like it should be about the songwriting but winds up being about sonic texture. Of course, that means that 15 Minutes can be a pleasant listen, and it is -- but there aren't many songs that make a lasting impression. Still, it's easy to admire the craft behind the production and the subtle songwriting, even if the songs don't work their way into your subconscious. And those are enough to make it worthwhile for hardcore fans longing for new Kershaw, even if it isn't enough to win a new audience.

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