BBC News Online
grandee of British pop music has resurfaced with his
long-awaited new album, and says it will be his last
high-profile commercial release.
George Michael's solo
career has been eventful, and announcing that he's turning his
back on the music business continues that headline-making trend.
But new offering
Patience, which Michael says nearly killed him, returns to the
music with which he made his name.
It starts and ends with
the poignant and painful title track, but the middle portion
reveals much more variation.
The 40-year-old singer
stands by his ill-fated political statement Shoot The Dog and
puts the musically punchy and exciting song on this album.
With the Passion furore
raging on, asking "if Jesus Christ is alive and well, how
come John and Elvis are dead?" on track three may touch
Michael veers back to the
personal with the lush American Angel, apparently an ode to his
partner Kenny Goss.
But reminders of the
infamous restroom incident come flooding back with the raunchy,
sexually provocative Freeek.
A master of the
heart-rending ballad, Michael sets a gentle and emotional mood
with My Mother Had A Brother and the warmly poignant Through.
He hasn't left his disco
sensibilities at the door, though, and a handful of uptempo
tracks bring this album to life.
Michael makes The Ones'
stomping favourite Flawless his own, but Precious Box is a
standout track which is bang up to date.
This is unlike his latest
hit Amazing, which sends us hurtling back to the late 80s.
Michael can never be
accused of cutting corners, for this is an album which sounds
crisp, clean and produced with an immaculate finish.
His stamp is obvious
throughout, possessing a distinct flair and style.
But as an artist
established enough to turn his back on the music business, this
man is not compelled to innovate and shock us with the
There are no massive
surprises with Patience, and Michael's core fans will be pleased
that his musical bandwagon rolls on with reassuring continuity.
Patience by George
Michael is out now on Sony Music