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The Awakening

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Album Review

James Morrison may be considered as one of the U.K.'s premier soul talents, but the Warwickshire singer appears to have a bit of a downer on his career of late, having recently stated that he's "sung too many love ballads," and that he hated making his last album, Songs for You, Truths for Me, after being pressured by his former Polydor label to repeat the formula of his million-selling debut. With several songs relating to his alcoholic father's death on his third effort, The Awakening, the husky-voiced guitarist appears to have rectified one of his issues, but despite the presence of Suede's Bernard Butler as producer, it's difficult to hear how he's made any attempt to deal with the other. Seemingly designed to make Radio 2 listeners hearts flutter, "I Won't Let You Go" follows the same heartfelt, acoustic, tearjerker template as his previous two lead singles; the toe-tapping Motown pastiches "Beautiful Life" and "Forever" show that Morrison's retro leanings are still very much apparent; while there's even a "Broken Strings"-style duet with Jessie J on the orchestral, midtempo "Up." Pleasantly inoffensive and lushly produced as they are, they don't exactly live up to the radical reinvention that his rather dismissive comments indicated, and it's only on the funky R&B beats and Michael Jackson-esque chorus of "Slave to the Music," and the sparse, gospel-tinged blues of "Right by Your Side," where Morrison begins to show some of the invention that was allegedly so heavily restricted on his previous effort. However, lyrically, he's never been better, with the heartbreaking themes of loss on "In My Dreams," "6 Weeks," and "Person I Should Have Been," the latter based on a poem inspired by the last conversation he had with his late father, more than fulfilling his ambitions of "wanting to go a bit deeper and find more substance." But until Morrison manages to infuse some of this raw honesty and emotion into his sound, he's always going to struggle to create that one great record that his impassioned and soulful voice deserves. [Some editions included a bonus track.] ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Perfection

I've only dreamed of the duet of James Morrison and Jessie J! My two favorite voices! This albulm is even better than what I expected. I love it!

james rules the world

beautiful album.never lets me down.wish i could write music like him.

ILOVEJAMES

Amazing cd! Love it!

Biography

Born: August 13, 1984 in Rugby, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

At the ripe old age of 21, James Morrison became an overnight sensation in the U.K. with the release of his debut album, 2006's Undiscovered, which wasted little time going platinum in the British Isles. Blessed with a fresh, soulful voice that alternated between smooth and rough tones (and suggested a British Stevie Wonder), Morrison recalled both the passion of classic soul music and the confessional lyrical stance of the singer/songwriters of the 1970s. Morrison was born in the West Midlands town...
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The Awakening, James Morrison
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