John Barrowman

Another Side

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Best known for his portrayal of the Dr. Who sidekick, Captain Jack Harkness, and various show business related projects, John Barrowman released his first pop album, Another Side in November 2007, although pop is a loose term which could be used to define almost anything that was popular. Having released several albums of showtunes including Aspects of Lloyd Webber, a very poor imitation of earlier Michael Ball and Michael Crawford albums, and Swings Cole Porter, a selection of the songwriters' works, here was Another Side, presumably meant to showcase Barrowman as an MOR/easy listening/pop singer as well. The question that arose, however, was just why would he record such an album. It placed him as no better than thousands, or even tens of thousands, of pub and club karaoke singers getting up and having a go at one of a number of songs that happen to be on the karaoke machine. Taking a look at the track listing showed a lack of imagination. Why would anybody choose to make an album with insipid versions of "All Out of Love," "You're So Vain," and "Your Song"? His versions added nothing to the originals, if anything they made it hard to imagine such power had existed in the original versions, and even worse were "Time After Time," "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "If You Leave Me Now," and "Heaven," with which DJ Sammy & Yanou showed how an original song can be changed almost totally beyond recognition without ruining it. Barrowman's versions were all sung with the minimum of effort, certainly a lack of sweat, power, and emotion, all the notes in the right place, in the right order, but not a lot else. And just when one was getting used to Barrowman singing the cream of MOR pop in such a bland way, he returned to musical theater for Stephen Sondheim's "Being Alive" and Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's "Feeling Good" before ending with the Eric Carmen emotionally fraught epic, "All by Myself." Admittedly, the songs were filled out with full orchestration but if this album was supposed be about the man as a singer, it told nothing new about him at all, and far from showing another side of him, it was a great disappointment unless one was expecting nothing more than a decent pub singer's set in the first place.

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