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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 18:33 GMT
Review: George Michael's Patience
By Michael Osborn
BBC News Online entertainment staff

George Michael
Singer George Michael says Patience will be his last commercial album
A 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 nerves.

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.

Crisp, clean and produced with an immaculate finish

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.

'No surprises'

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 experimental.

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

But what do you think? Is George Michael's new album a fitting swansong? Or is he going out with a whimper? See below for a selection of your comments.

Make no mistake, this album is a true masterpiece from probably the greatest songwriter to have walked this earth. After waiting many years, I can see where the time has gone - into incredible writing, producing and performance. This album is an experience all to itself. The way George articulates his pain and joy through the most unbelievable vocals he's delivered brought me to tears often.
Atif Sarwar, London, UK

Twenty two years since George started his career. I listened then as a boy and now a man - still as easy listening as always. Would have liked a more upbeat tempo though on more of the new album. Do all your fans a favour George, lets see you in concert.
Danny Norton, England

I have only heard pieces of the new album as we are awaiting a release date here. I am so glad that we are being treated to a new album after so long. The song My Mother Had A Brother is absolutely haunting.
Richard Neely, USA

I have mixed feelings about this album. The up-tempo songs are classic George (Flawless is guaranteed to get you going) but the ballads are in his thought-provoking vein, rather than commercial. There's no Careless Whisper here, but there's definitely a place for them, and though the album is no Faith, it's on a par with LWP Volume 1, in style, as well as quality. The singles have been misleading, and apart from two other tracks, there are only two other up-tempo ballads. But despite the part disappointment, I just can't help but listen to it.
Jackson, England

A good collection of songs, but after eight years Patience should have been great, definitive album in the order of U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Perhaps an unfair expectation, but George set a very high standard with Faith and Listen Without Prejudice. There are some stand-out tracks, notably the well-chosen first single, Amazing, but where is the consistent songwriting and lyrical eloquence George demonstrated with unequalled ease for the first 10 years of his career? George is still a great singer and an excellent producer and Patience is a testament to that. However, it's become apparent that he needs a songwriting partner full-time to save himself - and us - from his indulgent, nonsensical moments.
Ted, USA

This is pure genius. George is inspiring and provoking. When I first heard Amazing I knew this record would be full of feeling. I have never been touched like this before by music and it has opened my eyes. Real flair and panache, this record is the best thing that's happened for a long time.
James, UK

George certainly moved on and produced a great album with Patience. I don't like artists who produce albums that sound always the same. But then, his album has lyrics that still go emotionally beyond our hearts and souls.
Nobby, Germany

Patience is a very "smooth" and personal album. I really like this one and it grows more and more on you every time you listen to it. The best song on this album is"Cars and Trains... what superb lyrics, just great.
R Bregovic, Germany

I've been a fan of George Michael since day one and this album is his best. I couldn't wait for this album to be released and i'm glad to say that it was well worth the wait.
Lisa Jones, UK

Pure genius - All you pretend pop stars should take note - This is how it should be done.
Keith, Ireland

The album is good, but not exactly his best. On average, the songs are very listenable but none are exactly amazing. I can't see there being any number one singles from it.
Jim Young, England

The most personal album you'll ever lay ears upon, and, a classic piece of pop - superbly produced and containing some his best vocal performances ever. Patience is quality songwriting throughout - though occasionally George seems to be cramming too much lyric into too little melody... Shoot may be the weakest song, but, like all of this man's "weaker material", it is still miles ahead of anything written today.
JJ Forward, Belgium

I haven't heard such amazing music since Freddie Mercury died... we'll miss you George!
Chafaq, Kingdom of Morocco

I find this record simply beautiful. The ballads are possibly the most private confessions he's ever made and are sung with a depth, power and feeling you will hardly find these days, while the up-tempo songs add the necessary vitality. The lyrics are great and moved me a lot. It has been worth being patient, indeed, and I'll be patiently waiting for whatever he is going to compose in future.
Pawel Krawczyk, Poland

Just got the record today. Need to listen to is a few times more.. But the amazing thing is the feeling you get, when you bye a George Michael record. It so rare, which just makes it so much more special. I think that experience is the one we are going to miss most, when he stops making records. But in the end it is the songs that count. And if downloading his songs means we are going to get new material, than that cool enough. Hope you'll find what you are looking for out there George!!
Peter, Denmark

George Michael is a rare talent and I am sure (and hope) he will continue making music for many, many years to come. Perhaps a Bond Theme George?
Sanjay Kumar, UK

Rarely does one buy an album that is engaging from start to finish (during which there's never an urge to skip a track) and George's latest is one of those rare gems! Generally, I think that pre-ordering an album is silly, but in the case of this album I ordered two months in advance - Patience paid off!
Regan Zeebuyth, USA

An excellent collection of songs, and well worth the wait. And it is good to hear George's intentions of turning his back on the record industry to deal directly with the fans. This is a strategy which is proving vastly popular with other contemporary musical acts such as Marillion. Good luck George!
Dominic B, Australia

I've been a fan since day one, and alway's quick to defend George, but let's face it...he is a bit of a wimp. He's had it so hard...give us a break. Great music, but his comments on various subjects rank on a par with Del Boy. I had Faith, and I Listened Without Prejudice as he grew Older, Ladies and Gentlemen but I'm finally running out of Patience. Music only please.
Clive Slattery, Hong Kong

Does anyone else think this talk of no more albums etc is just a bit too cleverly timed, a week before a new album? Whether or not the album is good or not, I am extremely disappointed at George for lowering himself to these tactics.
Tom Wanless, UK

"Wake me up before you go, go" ? He just did. Pioneering it ain't, but quality pop it most certainly is...the first quality pop I've heard for years. Now, George, some more unplugged stuff next, please. The MTV (or was it VH1?) concert you did a few years back was awesome.
Steve, UK

I think that George Michael has been an inspiration to many young aspiring musicians. I reckon his last album is one of the best, and he will be definitely missed.
Mark, Ireland

We're weary of being led up the garden path by George Michael. Some time in the 80s he announced that Listen Without Predujice was to be his last album. We will not kowtow to his Machiavellian tactic once again. Who does he think he's fooling? If indeed he's going out at all, he's doing so with a whimper.
John Makoni, South Africa

If this is his farewell, then he has gone out with a bang and not a careless whisper. I'm just so sad that the most talented singer-songwriter since John Lennon took eight years to say it to us.
Greg Rixon, UK

Eagerly awaited, this release. I thought it would be hard to beat Older, but he does himself proud. There are different songs for different moods.
Maddy Simpson, Northern Ireland

I can't remember the last time a song moved me to tears, but My Mother Had A Brother did just that - a beautiful song which addresses a whole clutch of issues. The rest of the album simply serves to remind us that for the last eight years or so we've been denied one of the most talented songwriters and vocalists ever produced in this country.
Andrew Eddowes, UK

I remember George saying he'd never give another interview and that he'd be releasing one album a year. Let's face it, his music is good but he talks rubbish.
Kevin, UK

It's definitely a beautifully created 'goodbye' album. The voice is as soulful, painful and funky as always. Round Here is a lovely introspective song with vocal and melodic acrobatics that pull you in - something only a truly gifted singer-songwriter like George can create.
Barry, Australia

George is a perfectionist, and this album certainly does not disappoint. If he wants to leave behind the cynical music industry and concentrate on writing tracks for download, then he leaves us on a high note, and I, as a fan of more than 20 years' standing, will support him all the way.
Beverley Lawrence, UK

Bland is all I can say. I certainly think it's no great loss to music, and to those who think he's the next best thing to John Lennon, please give us a break.
Andy, UK

I think George Michael shouldn't bid farewell so soon. There is still much of his musical talent that has to be discovered.
Asvin Master, Switzerland

The album doesn't live up to the musical standard he's presented over the years. Although there are some strong lyrics and well-produced music, Patience sometimes lacks innovation. But it's always sad to say goodbye to a musical talent.
Sam, Denmark

George is certainly leaving the music world as truly one of the greatest artists of our time. He certainly kept us in suspense with his new album. For those who are complaining it's taken too long - patience.
Drew, UK

It's a pity that this is the last major release from such a great singer-songwriter. George Michael represents a great majority of the general public who appreciate music for music's sake...rather than the other hoo-ha that goes with it these days, which usually means pandering to the lowest common denominator. This has led him to get involved in famous scrapes with some of the world's biggest corporations and politicians and it's difficult to not admire a man with talent and courage by the bucketload. Whatever he does from here on,I wish him the best of luck.
Samar Habib, UK

I love the album, but am I the only one who thinks that it's just a little too slick? There is very little real punch to any of the tracks with the exception of the wonderful Freeek 04. You may say he has misled us with the 'will he, won't he' do another album, but with the standard of this one, long may it continue in any form.
Helen Bradford, UK

If this is George Michael's last album, it will be an enduring tribute to his talent.
Andrew, UK

This album is everything I hoped for and more. Whatever George does next will have my full support.
Gill, UK

This is not his last album. He has already said that there will be a duets album in 2005 and, after that, his music will be available to download from his website.
Robert Mitchell, UK

Patience is the perfect swansong for this truly seminal and consumate singer. We'll miss you, George.
Myrddin Gwynedd, UK

George may well be leading the charge to what becomes the only way to distribute music in the future. So rather than turning his back on the industry, I think he's forging a path to the next way.
Chris Hare, USA (expat Brit)

Has anyone else noticed that if you take the initial letters of all George's original solo albums you get a charming little word - (F)aith, (L)isten Without Prejudice, (O)lder and (P)atience?
Roger, Netherlands

I've been a fan since the very beginning, and I still had the same excitement buying this album as I did buying Faith in 1988.
Geoff Almond, England

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