James Blunt: Some Kind of Trouble

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Posted April 21, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0
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Trouble, go away! Singer-songwriter finds comfort in bright familiar pop on third studio set

British singer/songwriter James Blunt returns to the U.S. market with his third effort, Some Kind of Trouble. Blunt has never managed to recapture the success of his ubiquitous number one hit, “You’re Beautiful” from 2005’s platinum certified Back to Bedlam. His second effort, 2007’s All Lost Souls fell short of all expectations. In Some Kind of Trouble, Blunt continues the formula of previous efforts – sensitive, though well crafted songs highlighting his oft-times whiny, high-pitched vocals. Smartly, the songs are ‘short and sweet’ all clocking in under four minutes. It may not win over new fans, but Blunt’s third album supplies his discography with another capable, consistent effort.

First single “Stay the Night” opens the album brightly, with soulful production work supporting Blunt’s distinct vocals, one would expect it to sound desperate, however, “Stay the Night” comes across as natural and unforced. The songwriting is a highlight, particularly the singer’s affinity for catchy choruses, which remain a fixture on Some Kind of Trouble. “Dangerous” contrasts the optimism exuded by the opener in favor of a darker, more malicious tone, highlighted by Blunt singing “She is dangerous, she is dangerous…she’s all dressed up and knocking at my door.” “Best Laid Plans” is valedictory, a gem melding soul, pop and rock while yielding a vulnerable, yet strong vocal performance by Blunt.

“So Far Gone” yields another standout refrain, though “No Tears,” a touching ballad, is the better overall track, exuding the best lyricism of the album. The refrain is somber and well penned: “For the life that you led, you had angels in your head, did you hear them singing in the end… I’ve been everything I wanna be, so no tears…” “Superstar” yearns to be commercial yet independent, given its refrain, referencing the demise of America via ‘reality TV.’ Both “These Are the Words” and “Calling Out Your Name” are good, but definitely not home runs.

“Heart of Gold” restores some grandeur, though it is not unlike his other ballads. “I’ll Be Your Man” picks up a faster tempo, clearly Blunt’s idea of ‘fun’ – quasi-effective given Blunt’s moody musical personality. “If Time Is All I Have” is the tried-and-true Blunt that we’ve come to expect, while “Turn Me On” is a shocking, overt departure from the singer who rarely ‘breaks a sweat.’

If Some Kind of Trouble suffers any huge impropriety, it is the distinction between the songs themselves. Much of the material is so similar and rehashes previously used harmonic progressions that it is hard to pinpoint distinct moments. This may be the flaw that prevents this effort from being one that is incredibly memorable.

BRENT FAULKNER

HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 8 November 2010
  • Label: Atlantic/Custard
  • Producer: Greg Kurstin, Steve Robson, Eg White, Kevin Griffin, Warren Huart
  • Spin This: “Stay the Night,” “Dangerous,” “Best Laid Plans,” “No Tears”

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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