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Naughty Boy's "Hotel Cabana" Reviewed

Hotel Cabana

Hotel Cabana

Hotel Cabana is UK producer Shahid Khan’s first album under the guise of Naughty Boy and it is a goodie, an overstuffed, over thought out , and little too much of everything primer on the neo-Northern soul scene coming out of the UK right now. Shahid was a Domino’s delivery man a coupla years ago when he got on the UK version of “Deal And No Deal”, took his $80K winnings and never looked back. He executive produced Emili Sande’s hugely successful Our Version of Events and has been near the top of the charts ever since. Emili is on seven of these tracks, Ella Eyre is here, Sam Smith is here, hell, Ed Sheeran is here and they are all doing first rate week. Bastille? This isn’t an an album, it’s a “Now That’s What I call Music…”

A concept album about a week in a hotel, it is consistent and strong electronic soul, peaking early with the Ella Eyre lead singing “Think About It”, then peaks again with “La La la” and one last time with three great songs in a row, Emile’s “Lifted” (get it?), ed’s “Top Floor” and maybe the best song on album with more than its fair share, “Home” featuring Roman’s excellent falsetto.

In between those highs it gets a little sticky. Bastille can destroy anything they put their mind to no problem and “No One’s Here To Sleep” is a real bad rock and roll track and Emile is a little over done, three tracks yeah, but seven? Still it never sticks so low and you just know that just about every song here is a possible hit. Plus, the Hotel concept is silly but at least Khan remains true to it.

It is really a first album the way first albums are meant to be, it’s like Khan couldn’t stop himself and just had all these ideas and had to run with them. The Deluxe version includes a song with Professor Green and a cover of “Get Lucky”. It’s like a vacation and a time to indulge yourself.

Grade A-

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