Nik Kershaw

To Be Frank

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Nik Kershaw rose to success in the mid-'80s, largely based on his two hit singles, "Wouldn't It Be Good" and "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," only to retreat into obscurity throughout most of the '90s due to a lukewarm reception for his Radio Musicola album. After surfacing in 1999 with a new album, 15 Minutes, Kershaw set out to begin recording again, which resulted in To Be Frank, his album of quirky pop tunes. Feeling more like a last plea to rekindle the success of his past rather than an attempt at something new, To Be Frank is a faceless collection of material that leaves you wondering if anyone even cares anymore. Nik Kershaw's largest talent has always been evident in his songwriting; he even spent much of the '90s writing hit songs for other bands, and that alone carries the album when even the music falters. "Wouldn't It Be Good" is desperately given the acoustic treatment and included near the end of To Be Frank, but even that feels more like a marketing gimmick than a fresh, inventive idea for his lagging pop career. To Be Frank may interest fans of earlier work, but it is plain as day that Kershaw's best work remains in his past.

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