Album review: James Morrison – The Awakening

Coming straight out of left field and in a move that is likely to alienate his entire fan base, James Morrison has for his third album The Awakening, recorded a titanic dubstep behemoth that would make Skrillex or Nero blush. Discarding his trademark whisky gravelled vocals and acoustic guitar, Morrison has released an album designed to liquefy brains and tear down club… Oh no wait. Yeah, no, James Morrison has actually just released a James Morrison album, my mistake.

Housewives second favourite floppy-haired singer songwriter (Next to Sir James Blunt), Morrison did not make things easy for himself when he released his debut single ‘You Give Me Something’ way back in 2006. Trying to surmount a song that good would be a challenge for anyone and whilst there are moments on The Awakening where he comes close –  opener ‘In my Dreams’ and closer ‘One Life’ are both lovingly crafted pop songs – there isn’t a moment that transcends the middle ground that Morrison has treaded since releasing his duet with Nelly Furtado ‘Broken Strings’. The album also finds Morrison wearing his influences squarely on his sleeve, tracks such as ‘Slave to the music’ and ‘Beautiful Life’ find him doing his best Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder impersonations and the song ‘Forever’ has him sounding curiously similar to Cee lo Green. However hard he tries to channels these artists, he is let down by a set of songs that lack any tangible emotion, an odd occurrence given the passing of his father and birth of his child that took place before the recording of the album. This is exemplified in the track ‘Up’, where the effects laden voice of Jessie J sweeps in to remove the last drops of sincerity from an already emotionless song. To summate, only purchase this album if you are a diehard fan – for a more earnest account of contemporary soul look up a man called Michael Kiwanuka, you won’t be disappointed.

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