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What Is Love For

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Album Review

Those looking for more of the bouncy pop Justin Currie used to effortlessly churn out as frontman/singer/songwriter for Del Amitri may need to reconsider before picking up his debut solo release. While Currie's pop instincts remain strong, this album of lovelorn ballads stays locked in mush mode for the entirety of its 45 minutes. While that might initially be a deterrent to some, once you get used to the concept, the listener can appreciate it for what it is: a sumptuous set of lovely, meticulously arranged songs, sung with earnest emotion and empathy. Comparisons to much of McCartney's love tunes are in order. Imagine an album filled with variations on "My Love" and you're close to what Currie creates here. The melodies are simple yet elegant, the production clean and crisp with few signs of the sappy gunk this could easily have turned into. The singer's vocals are instantly recognizable, but in this format of music from the heart they seem even more impressive, as he's obviously connected to the material and not aiming for chart success. When he reaches into the higher end of his register on "Where Did I Go?" accompanied by strings and a somewhat surprising strangulated guitar solo, the drama is riveting. It will take a few spins for this to kick in, but when it does, small variations on the piano based format such as the gritty guitar that jumps out of "Out of My Control" and the squawking, David Bowie-styled sax in "Something in That Mess" become gripping interludes in the introspective mood. Clearly this material wouldn't have cut it on a Del Amitri album, at least all of it together, but the consistent tone works to this disc's advantage. It's a perfect soundtrack for rainy days and Sundays, or as accompaniment to anyone who has ever lost a love and needed to hear those sentiments expressed with honesty, sympathy and warmth.


Born: 11 December 1964 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Justin Currie was born in Scotland on December 11, 1964. As the bassist/vocalist/chief songwriter for Scottish folk-pop outfit Del Amitri, the Glasgow native released six full-length records between 1982 and 2002 before embarking on a solo career. Currie's proven gift for infectious melodies paired with wry, earnest, and occasionally barbed lyrics carried over to his solo work as well. His 2007 solo debut, What Is Love For, was a highly introspective collection of lovelorn ballads...
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What Is Love For, Justin Currie
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