Looking for respect

There comes a time in every teen idol’s career when commanding the devotion of toddlers is no longer enough.

Even Ronan Keating, who has always seemed more likely to transform into Val Doonican than Liam Gallagher, isn’t immune to a hunger for respect. His second solo album, Destination (Universal) is his stab at the adult “demographic”, as we glean from the cover shot of Keating standing in the dingiest back alley his stylist could knock up.

The driving force behind Destination, he declares, is a yearning to show the public “who I really am”. And who might that be? Predominantly, the same MOR sentimentalist he was before, with the tempo increased a bit.

On the mildly suggestive I Love It When We Do, he appropriates Semisonic’s soft-rock feel, then replicates his own zippy Rollercoaster on Love Won’t Work and the jangling Pickin’ Me Up. Keating also essays a little Michael Boltonish bellowing (you can fairly hear the mullet sprouting) on My One Thing That’s Real. It is progress, in a way, and makes pleasant background noise for household chores.

Ronan Keating performs at the Sun City Superbowl on August 3, The Dome in Jo’burg on August 4 and Cape Town’s Bellville Velodrome on August 6

Andreas Johnson: Deadly Happy (Warner)

Swedish singer/songwriter Johnson returns with a second album of confident pop that is more self-assured and better put together than Darren Hayes’s recent debut Spin, which is modelled on the same formula. Single Shine is perfect radio pop; the rest is as easy to digest. — Riaan Wolmarans

Carl Cox: Global (Gallo)

Big Black Cox turns up the beat for two CDs of live-mixed, relentless tribal and hard beats and bass, including some of his own tracks, such as Dirty Bass (with Christian Smith) and Want a Life. “I give you this album to play loud,” Cox says. It’s not like you can do anything else. Get it soon. — Riaan Wolmarans

Doves: The Last Broadcast (EMI)

Hailing from Manchester, this trio provides a breath of fresh air in the cloud of power melodies that is the current commercial rock scene created by Creed, Nickelback and their kind. Their style is ambient, wistful and almost dreamy Brit-rock, sometimes reminiscent of laid-back Pulp. Mostly without sticking to any obvious formula or plan, the album still forms a coherent and satisfyingly uplifting listening experience. — Riaan Wolmarans

Scooter: Push the Beat for This Jam: The Second Chapter (Sheffield)

Two CDs of this German techno group’s same old dance-floor thumpers in original and remix form, including Ramp! (The Logical Song) and Posse (I Need You on the Floor). A few new tracks are included, such as Habanera, which borrows from Bizet’s Carmen. It gets lively and jump-up energetic at times, but expect a sad smattering of cheese as well. — Riaan Wolmarans

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