I think we can all agree that Andrea Begley winning The Voice was a huge surprise - not that anyone seemed to care. There were far more talented contestants on the show, but somehow the little Irish girl pulled through. What better way to celebrate your sympathy win than with an album of dismal covers?
Each of the thirteen tracks has had any enjoyment sapped and replaced by acoustic guitars and strings. Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark? Boring folk ballad. A-ha's Take On Me? Boring folk ballad. Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart? Boring folk ballad. The other tracks range from obvious breezy tunes like The Lumineer's Ho Hey and Deep Blue Something's Breakfast at Tiffany's, to actual ballads like Sarah McLachlan's Angel, Falling Slowly (from Once) and Evanescence's My Immortal.
A major problem is that Begley's voice, ironically enough, is simply not strong enough to sustain a full album. It might be pleasant enough for a minute or so, but it's ultimately bland and emotionless, with no power or dynamic range.
The biggest issue with 'The Message', however, is who's going to buy it? Begley has the audacity to tackle recent hits like Disclosure's Latch and Jake Bugg's Lightning Bolt, both clearly aimed at younger ears. Yet who would choose to listen to her joyless rendition of Latch over the thrilling original? Dare I say it, is Jake Bugg's version preferable to this pathetic jig?
At the other end of the spectrum are the middle-aged dinner party goers, but putting this album on is worse than those Come Dine With Me contestants who insist their son/daughter is a 'really talented performer' as they screech out an acoustic ballad of their own creation. Zero points for entertainment.
Still, at least Begley has a nice souvenir of her time on The Voice to give to her mother for Christmas. For the rest of us, 'The Message' is a worrying example of what happens when the wrong person wins a reality TV show. Begley has done the seemingly impossible and made an album that's somehow more offensive than Miley Cyrus licking a sledgehammer.
Listen: 'The Message' is available now (if you must).