Aiden Grimshaw (who is now just Aiden, like Madonna is Madonna and Adele is Adele) recently followed up his fantastic self-penned debut album Misty Eye with a free 4-track EP aptly titled… Aiden. Right, we get it. you’ve dropped ‘Grimshaw’.
But Aiden, in my opinion is the best that the X-Factor has produced. He combines gorgeous moody vocals and stage presence with jarring synths and deep bass lines to produce something that is vastly superior to the rest of those featured on the X-Factor. He featured ninth in the 2010 series and this is the best thing that could have ever happened to him. If he’d have won he wouldn’t be the artist that he is today. Every single creative decision would have been made for him and Misty Eye would have been filled with generic pop and dreary ballads. Aiden’s sound is unique.
Hailing from Blackpool, the 22-year-old auditioned with Gold Digger which received unanimous praise from the judges. But during the live shows his moody persona was critiqued and his stage presence wasn’t what the judges wanted. After stunning performances of Mad World, Diamonds Are Forever and Thriller, Aiden was voted out of the show and Katie Waissel (who?) was voted through.
After a two-year break Aiden returned with Is This Love, a song that combined pop and drum and bass with intense, heavy vocals. The chorus was particularly impressive, along with Aiden’s refined vocals. Next came Curtain Call, the stand-out song from his first album. Featuring ShezAr. Curtain Call was another intense and moody affair about love with gorgeous vocals from both of them. If you haven’t previously heard this song then I urge you to do so. It’s vastly superior to What Makes You Beautiful.
Misty Eye received unanimous praise upon its release and from the very first listen it was easy to understand why. Painting pictures of despair and wrought emotion, some of its many fantastic tracks include This Island, an intense and powerful song about hurt and suicide set to an upbeat track, Poachers Timing, a slow and haunting ballad which is perhaps the simplest song on the album, Misty Eye comprising of intelligent lyrics (such as “vivid thoughts of metaphor” and “silhouette of emptiness wrapped up in thoughts of nothing less”) and What We Gonna Be, marrying an impressive rap by Smiler (a trick Aiden imitates on Aiden) with fast-paced, soaring chorus’. It’s a stellar debut – one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in fact – and seriously recommend it.
The album charted respectably (number 19) but Aiden didn’t let this deter him. In August this year he released The Way We Are, a compelling teaser of his change in direction and followed this up with the aforementioned Aiden, are slowly releasing the four songs over the weeks preceding its release.
Satisfy Me, featuring rapper Thaddaeus Tribbett, combines jarring and deep synths with addictive and powerful vocals. It’s instantly recognisable as his sound, but it’s refreshed and invigorating and it’s a song I’ve had playing on repeat ever since I first heard it. The Cleaner combines synths and spoken-word lyrics over a repetitive pop track. It’s not as memorable as the other three songs unfortunately, but upon repeated listens I guarantee you’ll love as much as the rest. Fire & Ice is upbeat (perhaps the most upbeat we’ve heard Aiden) and fresh, about opposites attracting and it’s slightly hippie, slightly indie, slightly reggae, but completely Aiden. And finally Better Man, a song about redeeming qualities improving a flaying relationship, features soaring vocals over a beat that revs and revs, hinting at dance undertones, perhaps a hint at Aiden’s future endeavours? I certainly hope so. The only downfall of the new EP is that it’s left me desperately wanting more.
Aiden’s sound is fresh. If you can move past the moody persona and intense music you’ll discover something new that you’ll fall in love with instantly. Aiden has changed his sound the same amount of years he’s been around and that is why he’s the best the X-Factor has produced. You never know what to expect, but you know it’ll be amazing.