James Blunt's 'Moon Landing' - Blunt's back, but is it any good?
Man on the moon…
After a 3-year gap since 2010’s Some Kind of Trouble, the radio-friendly, unit-shifting juggernaut that is James Blunt lurched back into action this week with the release of his 4th album, Moon Landing. Retaining the services of Tom Rothrock (Elbow, Badly Drawn Boy) on executive production duties, the new album also features songwriting and production credits for the likes of Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue) and Steve Mac (Ronan Keating, The Saturdays).
Thanks in part to some gremlins in the PR machine earlier this year, fans will already be familiar with the lead single, ‘Bonfire Heart’, which caused a stir when a link to the new track was accidentally mailed to a UK-wide database of music fans, some of whom were none too happy with the singer’s unsolicited advances.
For those who welcomed the leak however, there is much to enjoy from a single that sees everyone’s favourite singing tank driver returning to his best form with a rousing, strum-along number that should see the Zippos waving in the air at his next round of live shows.
What are the highlights?
‘Heart to Heart’ is a pleasing slice of power-pop that smacks of Chambers’ influence on the record, while ‘Bones’ is likely to be a contender for a club mix with it’s four-to-the-floor verses and huge, swelling chorus. Sun on Sunday is not, as the title might suggest, a lament on phone hacking or a tribute to Rupert Murdoch’s replacement for the News Of The World, but a mournful number where Blunt himself is cast as the bad guy.
‘Always Hate Me’ is one of the more interesting & adventurous tracks on the album, and you can’t help but wonder if its hook line is aimed at his detractors in the media (And she will always hate me / no matter what I say…), while ‘Bones’ as another stomper that should go down well on tour. ‘Telephone’ is a bit of an oddity on the album – a sort of Blunt-does-reggae number that sails a bit close to pastiche – but it does at least show an ambition to branch out into different styles, which is a welcome surprise.
Who will buy it?
Well, millions of people, probably. Let’s face it, James Blunt is one of those ‘Marmite’ acts and you’re either going to love this album or hate it. Moon Landing won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and this was never going to be a prog-rock exploration or an experimental jazz odyssey, but it delivers what everyone is expecting it to and does so admirably. There’s some great songwriting on the record and you do get the sense that Blunt is trying to branch out and be a little more adventurous. With career record sales well into the millions he could operate entirely in his comfort zone and nobody would bat an eyelid, but Moon Landing does have some very interesting moments and, if you are one of those in the ‘love’ camp, this will go down a treat.
Moon Landing is available in stores and to download now.