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Wicked Ways

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Album Review

Wicked Ways is essentially just a retro-pop pastiche, but it's a good one: it's got the hooks and the vibe of yesteryear without really feeling dated, or at least outrageously dated. Waylon covers a lot of ground on the record — the album's tour de force, "Fragile People," for example, sounds like a cross between Counting Crows and Scott McKenzie, or maybe just like Counting Crows if they'd fallen through time into the flower power revolution and adapted — but elsewhere, Waylon sings nice, crooning tunes reminiscent of lounge jazz and Aerosmith ballads, with plodding tempos, background strings, and all. Other tracks have Bryan Adams vibes, vintage synths, blues, cock rock anthems that would make David Coverdale's chest puff out had he written them, and Waylon employs many other bits and pieces plundered from chart-toppers of the '60s, '70s, and '80s. All of this could be a recipe for disaster, simply because, well, stringing some three decades of music into a coherent whole is tricky work that may very easily result in a musical multiple personality disorder: good songs but no band identity. But while Wicked Ways feels like a patchwork to some degree, in the end, it clicks: Waylon never goes for head-on impersonation of older bands, using old tricks to produce nice pop songs, and not an army of clones. The imminent drawback of this dependence is that there are no monster hits here, but between the non-ironic vibe, the grooves, the sappiness, and Waylon's creaky but charismatic voice, Wicked Ways is a very worthy way to satisfy those retro cravings without actually digging up a handful of old records.


Born: April 20, 1980 in Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Waylon is a Dutch pop singer with a retro soul- and rock-influenced style who rose to fame on the reality television show Holland's Got Talent in 2008 prior to making his Top Five hit album debut with Wicked Ways in 2009. Born Willem Bijkerk on April 20, 1980, in Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherlands, he named himself after his idol, American country music outlaw icon Waylon Jennings. His musical career initially took flight around the turn of the century, when he was signed to a recording contract...
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Wicked Ways, Waylon
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