Though executed well, the tracks sound like composites of a million other lovelorn pop songs.
James Blunt Moon Landing (Atlantic) ⋆⋆
Midway through Face the Sun, the opening track on James Blunt’s fourth album, a thought occurs: this is precisely the kind of song that shows such as The X Factor have playing in the background when they want to put viewers through the emotional wringer. Moon Landing’s would-be tearjerkers with telegraphed choruses keep coming, too, and never more transparently than on Miss America, a song about the passing of Whitney Houston. “There’s a new voice singing in heaven’s choir tonight,” offers Blunt in that high, fluttering voice of his. The singer-songwriter and former British army officer is here reunited with Tom Rothrock, the producer behind the irritatingly ubiquitous hit You’re Beautiful. Blunt is also joined by at least nine co-writers, all of them seemingly tasked with the job of helping a particularly saccharine kind of lightning to strike twice. Though The Only One and Sun on Sunday are executed well enough, they sound like composites of a million other lovelorn pop songs. The overall impression is of a work whose attempts to express Everyman emotions seem too familiar, too contrived.