Nights Like These

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Outasight's debut album, Nights Like These, is a fairly impressive feat of artful appropriation. Outasight (known to his intimates as Richard Andrew) and his large crew of producers and co-writers pilfer from almost every big mainstream pop act that ruled the charts in the early 2010s and the result is a bright and shiny album that touches a lot of bases, but gets called out at home by a mile. Over the course of a half hour, Andrew channels the tunefully breezy songcraft of Bruno Mars, the bleary frat rap of Asher Roth, the giddy freedom of Chiddy Bang (who guest on one of the record's best tracks, "Shine"), the thudding club beats used by everyone from Taio Cruz to Usher, and the dramatic techno buildups that Calvin Harris should have trademarked. Apart from the club bangers and jammers, there's a feel-good anthem ("I'll Drink to That") that sounds like what would have transpired if fun. recorded a beer commercial and an attempt at some mopey Weeknd/Drake-inspired balladry ("Under Lock and Key") that falls a little flat. All this burglary wouldn't be a problem if Outasight had a persona strong enough to cut through the imitation and make a bold statement. Unfortunately for him, his boasts are weak sauce, the melodies are hand-me-downs, and his voice isn't distinctive in any way. There is a glimmer of talent in there somewhere, but if he wants to make a record that's more than Outtasight Sings the Hits of 2012, he's going to need to dig a little deeper.

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