Some Kind of Trouble
[Rating: 2 stars]
Ostensibly popular but critically loathed, James Blunt is the UK’s answer to Nickelback:
his music splits the difference between overwrought rock and cloying, sentimental pop,
ensuring that no one from either crowd takes him seriously. At his best, Blunt actually
skews closer to soft-rock pro Five for Fighting; at his worst, he is hopelessly self-serious.
The repetitive, processed arrangements on his third album, Some Kind of Trouble, don’t
do the best job of dressing up Blunt’s ungainly falsetto, and his stabs at broad-brush
social commentary (“Reality TV killed them all in America,” he mourns on “Superstar”)
are even lousier than his ballads. Every once in a while, though, he nails the sweet spot.
The multi-tracked harmonies of “Stay the Night” and “Heart of Gold” are about as close
to sweeping melodic grace as Blunt will ever get. It seems unlikely that the 36-year-old
will score another hit as popular as “You’re Beautiful,” but there are times when Some
Kind of Trouble strikes a note of real agreeability.