Wilted pansies and a packet of Monster Munch from the 24-hour garage will seem like the gesture of an old-fashioned romantic compared to the gift of Peter's Unconditional Love Songs CD on February 14. Specifically designed for the Valentine's Day market, it contains a raft of cheesy cover versions (Michael Jackson's 'She's Out Of My Life', Terence Trent D'Arby's 'Sign Your Name') and the sloppiest, most saccharine cuts from his back catalogue. At least when he was recording 'Insania' or the cod-reggae nonsense of 'Mysterious Girl', there was an element of morbid amusement to be had from Peter's slightly desperate pop career. However, any fun Unconditional might have offered is sucked away by his yucky, painfully serious crooning - on most of these tracks, Peter comes across as a greasy lech rather than the laidback lover he so clearly wants to be.
It doesn't help that Peter can never resist dishing up a stomach-churning couplet - check out this howler from 'Unconditional', his ode to Katie Price's son, Harvey: "How could a man not wanna claim his own, leaving a mother to raise a child alone?" Those choosing to ignore the warning signs of the title track and album opener are then treated to a bargain-bucket cover of Bonnie Raitt's 'I Can't Make You Love Me'. Featuring the sort of guff bump 'n' grind grooves not heard since Another Level packed it in, it's got all the romance of a dry-humping from Meat Loaf. His Brian McKnight collaboration, 'Rest Of My Life', at least has the excuse of sounding like the warblings of a washed-up pop flop from 1997 - because that's exactly what it is. Sadly, a cringe-fest like 'Call The Doctor' ("There ain't no medication for my pain"), puked up on last year's comeback album, doesn't even have the defence of changing musical tastes.
In interviews, Peter comes across as a decent and well-meaning sort of bloke, but pop stardom isn't built on goodwill and pleasantness. Truth be told, the reality TV exploits and unusual private life that he'd prefer not to speak about are the only reasons this album is getting a release. In a different dimension, one where Peter never met Katie in the jungle, this record would still be the pipe dream of a long-forgotten popstar now running his own business in Cyprus. However, for those unfortunate enough to have it assault their eardrums, this musical atrocity will feel only too real.