The Bottom Line
Listen to "Ambitions"
Watch the "Ambitions" video
If you are a fan of international pop music and happened upon the massive 2009 Norwegian hit "Ambitions" by homegrown act Donkeyboy, then Joe McElderry's single will sound familiar indeed. It is jazzed up a bit, but this is a very faithful cover of a song that is only a year old. This is pleasing pop music, but it would be interesting to hear something original by the 2009 X Factor winner.
- Great pop song
- Pleasingly wistful instrumental arrangement
- Nearly karaoke paint by numbers vocal performance
- Not enough distinction in this cover version
- Written by Kent Sundberg, Cato Sundberg, Simen Eriksrud, Simone Larsen
- Cover version of original by Donkeyboy
- Released by Syco Music October 2010
Guide Review - Joe McElderry - "Ambitions"
Make no mistake, "Ambitions" is a great pop song. There was good reason for Norwegian act Donkeyboy to dominate the charts at home with this crafty pop ditty. There is complex emotion in the lyrics and a driving melody you won't soon forget. Covering "Ambitions" would have been a great move for Joe McElderry when he was competing on X Factor.
As the lead single for his debut album Wide Awake, we are left contemplating whether Joe McElderry wants to be an original pop star or more a karaoke teen idol. The primary difference between this recording and the original is simply that Joe McElderry's version has a more expensive sounding backing production. There is a musical wistfulness mixed in here that does fit the content of the song's lyrics. As far as the vocals are concerned, we get pretty much a paint by numbers falsetto.
If you do wish to see one of Joe McElderry's true gifts as a budding pop star, take a peek at the music video for "Ambitions." In this context he is thoroughly charming. Now it is time to get new material that can showcase the quality vocals he demonstrated in winning X Factor as well as his entertainment personality. If major stardom is in the cards for Joe McElderry, "Ambitions" is not the key for getting him there.