You would be justified in judging this book by its cover. 19 year old Conor Maynard has (begrudgingly) been labelled the British Justin Bieber, and the cover of his album connotes musical content similar to the American star; baby faced Maynard poses a supposed on-stage stance with his hands and fingers arranged in a sufficiently urban position. Contrast, however is a little more grown-up than you’re lead to believe, and within lies an admirable selection of urban dance pop.
The album features a surprising number of big names; Frank Ocean, Ne Yo, Rita Ora, Midi Mafia and Pharrell Wiliams all appear in one form or another, and their collective influence is heard throughout. ‘Lift Off’ was written by Pharrell Williams for The Neptunes, and although it was decided it wouldn’t work on one of their albums, it certainly fits in here.
Conor Maynard has a very specific audience. Even though he says he makes the kind of music he would want to listen to in a club, it’s really all for one purpose; to galvanise an army of teenage girls. Lyrically, it’s very RnB based, with every song seemingly illustrating a scene of unbridled and unstoppable physical attraction. ‘Vegas Girl’ features the lines “Roll the dice; I got ya number / hit the jackpot underneath the cover.” And although this will undoubtedly make millions of tweens falls in love with him, it does throw up the image of ‘that guy’ who goes to clubs on his own in order to grind on any female within sniffing distance.
Ultimately, Maynard may be young, good looking and vaguely risqué, but Bieber he ain’t. Contrast is impressively well rounded, and if you can look past the uber-sexualised lyrics, this is a good pop record, and a strong base to form what could be a lengthy stint in the charts.