Will Young – Crying on the Bathroom Floor (2021)

The last time Will Young furnished an audience with a large number of cover versions, he was inviting viewers to come on and light his fire while winning Pop Idol almost 20 years ago. As he releases his eighth album at 42, he’s long since proved that he’s way more gifted than most of the fast-forgotten talent show fodder that followed him. An Olivier Award-nominee for his work in Cabaret in the West End, a podcast and radio presenter, author and even an occasional journalist, he’s ranged widely, so could be excused for apparently coming full circle in his music career.

Last autumn he wrote about much of his personal life in stark detail in a book, To Be a Gay Man, which focused on gay shame. After well documented recent family troubles, it’s possible he didn’t want to expose himself further with self-penned songs at this point. You could perhaps read something into some of the song titles: Strong, originally by London Grammar, Indestructible by Robyn, Losing You by Solange. More likely this is simply an excuse to reveal his excellent music taste.

Leftfield pop artists such as MUNA, Lykke Li and Sky Ferreira deserve the wider attention they may get from Young making their music more Radio 2 friendly. In most cases, with the help of regular production collaborator Richard X, he’s made electronic originals sound a bit more organic, with lots of piano, a bit of guitar and his high, sad, soulful voice.

He doesn’t make any radical changes, unlike the way his (or more accurately, José Feliciano’s) version of Light My Fire was so different from The Doors’ all those years ago. But there is an intriguing new light cast when he interprets these songs written by women. Like The White Stripes covering Dolly Parton’s Jolene in 2000 without changing the pronouns, a different story is told when it’s a man singing. Daniel, originally by Bat for Lashes, becomes an intense gay love song. On the title track, by MUNA, he’s singing about tearing off his dress while enduring an abusive relationship: “When you hurt me I go higher.”


1. Will Young – Daniel
2. Will Young – Crying on the Bathroom Floor
3. Will Young – Till There’s Nothing Left
4. Will Young – Indestructible
5. Will Young – Strong
6. Will Young – I Follow Rivers
7. Will Young – Everything is Embarrassing
8. Will Young – Losing You
9. Will Young – Missing
10. Will Young – Elizabeth Taylor




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