Polydor - 2003 - 47 minutes
There are times on John Mayer's two studio albums to date when he sounds hauntingly like our very own Ronan Keating. However, Keating fails to reach the heights scaled by his highly rated American peer on his third solo album since the split of Boyzone.
There is a sense that Keating, having ditched pop svengali Louis Walsh in an attempt to forge his own way, is looking for a sound that is both credible, marketable and a step beyond the mostly mediocre fare of his earlier offerings. Although he has fallen more on the Robbie Williams side of the post-boyband fence than Gary Barlow or Stephen Gately, there is a marked gulf between where he is and where he wants to be.
While Keating's distinctive drawl may not be to everyone's taste, there is no doubt he can make a song his own and carry a note with a certain degree of style. That he has an enormous amount of charm and charisma is also unquestionable.
'Turn It On' is an album of inoffensive, predictable, lightweight rock/pop, littered with clichéd sentiment and unfulfilled potential. While there are noteworthy moments such as 'Last Thing On My Mind', his US market-driven duet with LeAnn Rimes, and 'She Gets Me Inside', those expecting heartfelt anthemic ballads like 'When You Say Nothing At All' or the energy of 'Life Is A Rollercoaster' will be disappointed.
Keating opens with the upbeat 'Turn It On Again', one of the better moments on an album which quickly descends into mediocrity. Despite breaking from the Walsh stable with the intention of writing his own material, the Dubliner employs the creative talents of Paul Barry (Cher/ Enrique Iglesias), Wayne Hector (Boyzone/ Westlife) and David Frank (Christina Aguilera), to name but a few.
Keating himself is given credit on the original tracks, Terence Trent D'Arby's amiable 'Let Her Down Easy' and Kenny Rogers' 'She Believes (In Me)' aside, but there's a feeling that Keating and co are writing to a formula rather than from real emotion or experience.
And this is where the whole thing comes unstuck. If it's fresh, emotive groundbreaking music you're after, steer well clear of 'Turn It On'. However, those ingredients may not necessarily be high on the musical agenda of the established Ronan fan and no doubt they will greet this latest instalment with typical rose-tinted appreciation.
Tracklisting: Turn It On Again - Lost For Words - She Gets Me Inside - First Time - Last Thing On My Mind - Let Her Down Easy - Back In The Day - She Believes (In Me) - On My Way - The Best Of Me - Hold You Now - This Is Your Song