Back To Bedlam
by James Blunt, pop/rock (2005)
Atlantic/WEA, ASIN B000301YY8


I think we have a reached a point in rock music where Bob Dylan, if he hadn't sold out to the Corporation ten years ago, would have killed himself out of shame. We have reached a point where instead of crying for peace, we automatically equate a former soldier who had served in Kossovo as a hero and treat his mediocre CD as some sacred source of enlightenment. Still, it's not fair to blame James Bedlam for his overglorified treatment in the media, although at the same time he can't say that he didn't take advantage of the red carpet treatment he was given.

While it is hard to fault the tracks produced by the likes of Guy Chambers and Linda Perry, this CD Back To Bedlam is surprisingly joyless, barely hanging on a thread from falling straight into the cheesey goo that Mr Blunt tries to dip his CD into. I suspect that these tracks will be better in the hands of someone who doesn't sound like a wailing street performer or who writes like he's a thirteen-year old brat composing on his first letter to the girl that stays next door to him. I mean, take a look at the lyrics of You're Beautiful:

My life is brilliant
My love is pure
I saw an angel
Of that I'm sure
She smiled at me on the subway
She was with another man
But I won't lose no sleep on that
'Cause I've got a plan

Still, he manages to put in a four-lettered word in that song, which is pretty amazing considering how that song is already dripping like a wet tap with painful cheese and melodramatic overwrought attempts to rhyme "pure" with "sure".

How about the otherwise beautifully broody Out Of My Mind?

Judging by the look on the organ-grinder
He'll judge me by the fact that my face don't fit
It's touching that the monkey sits on my shoulder
He's waiting for the day when he gets me
But I don't need no alibi - I'm a puppet on a string
I just need this stage to be seen
We all need a pantomime to remind us what is real
Hold my eye and know what it means

The songs are listenable, understated, and well-produced. It's a shame that they are graffitied by the cornball ham that is James Blunt's way with words and the fact that he has the charisma of a wet noodle in his interpretation of these songs.

Rating: 70


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