The golden boy of the moment in the UK gives the gleeful feeling that he is laughing with us at his rise.
Tinie Tempah embarks on Disc-Overy
Tinie Tempah (real name Patrick Chukwuem Okogwu Jr) is the golden boy du jour in the UK.
His album is currently riding high at the top of the British charts, and his singles (notably Pass Out and Written in the Stars) have been circulating for months, each having been viewed several million times on YouTube. Not bad for a 21-year-old. "The next Dizzee Rascal?" headlines have queried, in a faintly patronising "is it because he is black?" manner.
Disc-Overy illustrates why he's been such a hit with the Topshop demographic since finally heaving himself out of the London grime scene at the beginning of last year. It's almost too obviously designed as radio-friendly stuff, but you have to smile at the fun, swaggering, Lily Allen-esque lyrics ("I'm about to clean up like a Dyson, because I say it how it is like Simon").
Track-titles sound like confident boasts: Invincible, Simply Unstoppable and Wonderman. There are mainstream-friendly collaborations with the likes of Ellie Goulding, Kelly Rowland and Eric Turner, and a musical smorgasbord of rap with electro, drum'n'bass, catchy pop tunes and even a ballad-esque offering (Invincible). And yet, despite all this gloating, Tinie retains an endearing sense of humility. "I drive past the bus I used to run for," he says almost disbelievingly in Pass Out, and there are name checks for QVC, Benidorm and his mum.
Throughout, there's a gleeful sense that he's laughing with us at his rise. There's nothing tiny about it.
Also out this week
Antony and the Johnsons Swanlights (Rough Trade) The fourth album from the Mercury prize-winning Anthony Hegarty is his most varied release to date, not just musically but also in tone. Sounding more hopeful than he did on last year's offering, The Crying Light, the album's orchestral flourishes, courtesy of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, also lighten the mood. Highlights include Flétta, a repeat duet with his former collaborator Björk.
Magnetic Man Magnetic Man (Columbia)
While this experimental and largely instrumental debut from the London dubstep supergroup, comprising the producers Skream, Benga and Artwork, is a fun and fresh-sounding album, it has neither the boundless originality that fans have come to expect from the genre, nor the hooks needed to secure it any chance of serious chart success.