Janet Devlin: Confessional – Former X Factor finalist’s music biz takedown

Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 05:00



Janet Devlin

Insomnia Music Group


Long-term fans of The X Factor might recall Janet Devlin reaching the quarter-finals in its eighth season (in 2011). Then 16 years of age, she always seemed out of place in the entertainment-at-all-costs environment and, like other aspiring performers, once she was turfed out, she crumbled for a while. “Where has all my happiness gone?” Devlin asks on Honest Men, which addresses the sense of displacement she experienced while initially floundering.

Confessional, her third album, is released in tandem with an autobiography (of the same title) and mirrors in more compact ways issues with not just music industry puppeteers but also as someone who worked within it – eventually, on her own terms. Arriving six years after her second album (Running with Scissors), the overarching themes here bravely constitute hearts bared and scars displayed.

Janet Devlin - Confessional

Yet while the narrative throughout is survival and independence at all times, some of the music doesn’t match, with the assertiveness of one undermined by the ineffectiveness of the other. A case in point is Speak (“I never said yes, you know what that means . . . It’s our little secret under the sheet I will not keep . . .”), a song that could have worked better if the music had reflected the potency of the lyrics.

For all that, Devlin delivers a stinging riposte to the music business as an entity and to some people in particular. Good for her.