Alvin Stardust - Alvin
Just a few weeks after the announcement of his new album came the sad news that Alvin Stardust had passed away at the age of 72. His new album, and first for 30 years, was to have been a new start, a step back from the nostalgia that he’d traded in since his return to the stage in 2010. No more ‘My Coo Ca Choo’, this was to have been a proper artistic re-invention. Obviously, everything about the album is overshadowed by his death; nevertheless, this is no tribute album - simply the last, triumphant work of a great British pop star.
You have never heard Alvin Stardust like this. This is no piecemeal change of direction; this is a Johnny Cash-like rebirth. Listen to the metronomic chanting of ‘Whiskey Sweat’ or the freaky 'Robbery', which showcase Stardust at his playful best. The country stylings of ‘Still Haven’t Seen You Cry’ and the jazz swing of ‘Big Jack’ show his versatility, and it's hard not to be moved by the prescient ‘Living’ You Till I Die’ or Cash-esque promo track ‘Tongue Tied’. It’s no wonder he wanted people to hear that promotional track without his name being attached. There are some weaker tracks, mostly later on, but having co-written a number of the tracks himself, and still in fine voice, Stardust was rightly proud of what he hoped would be a career renaissance. Sadly, this is instead a career high as a full stop; what a fascinating and fantastic way to bow out.