Simplified

Studio Album by released in 2005

Simplified review

Mick Hucknall is without doubt one of the finest male vocalists Britain has ever produced, and one of its most accomplished, melodic and successful pop songwriters too. As the public face of Simply Red, he's the leader of one of the most proficient and exciting bands active not just in the UK, but anywhere. You could let the statistics speak for themselves – 50 million albums have been sold to date, while singles such as Holding Back The Years, Fairground and If You Don't Know Me By Now have topped the charts all around the globe. Hucknall was inspired to revisit some of Simply Red's hits after he was asked to perform some material with only a piano as accompaniment. Simplified features both stripped-down versions of the Simply Red's classic songs as well as fresh recordings. This unique new album allows the songs and unmistakable voice of Mick Hucknall to shine.

Classic Simply Red songs such as Something Got Me Started, Sad Old Red, Smile, and Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye are reinvigorated thanks to these sophisticated, even jazzy, new arrangements that only serve to re-emphasize the strength and enduring charm of one of the best songbooks in the pop arena. One of the group's most popular hits, Holding Back The Years, is beautiful and still lush; recognizable, but with an added timeless maturity. Other songs featured on Simplified include More, Your Mirror, Fairground, and For Your Babies. Yet while there is a strong element of re-assessment to Simplified, it is far from being an album with a retro feel. That's due in no small way to the exciting, often daring way in which long-familiar songs are given fresh life, but there are also some original and new tracks, or songs never before performed by Mick, to enforce the sense of forward movement and progress. The lead-off track and first single from Simplified is the irresistible, upbeat, and distinctly Latin-flavored Perfect Love. The Cuban vibe of this sensual new song is amplified by the vocals of Havana-based singer Danae, who adlibs alongside Mick to stunning effect. A Latin feeling runs throughout Simplified, inspired by the band's recent visit to Cuba.

Unashamedly romantic, songs are delivered by the distinguished voice of Mick Hucknall in his element. It's an album for cooing-doves and dewy-eyed lovers, newly-weds, honey-mooners before their shadows appear, and singletons to curl up with their cats and a buttery-chardonnay on the couch. The album's mixture of music shows the band’s appreciation for different sounds. Really though, Simply Red is about the music, and always has been. And that's why Simplified, the latest album in a 21-year career, is such a satisfying and signature work. This album is both a revisiting of their past, and a statement of intent about the future, and stands as testament to the enduring gifts of one of the best and most popular bands.