James Morrison – Undiscovered
Label: Universal/Polydor Records
Release Date: March 13, 2007
James Morrison is a superstar. He has sold over 2 million copies of his record, Undiscovered, all over the world. Now, when I say world, I mean everywhere except the United States. Our mainstream landscape seems content with musical one-night stands and spelling lessons over a hip-hop beat. This is fine if you’re only interested in the groups advertising for Pepsi. However, if you’re looking for a little substance (no, not that kind), James Morrison is your guy. His album title might be extremely ironic in England at this point, but it is painfully literal as I write this in Columbia, Missouri. Let’s work on changing that. Ha, work.
I haven’t been so excited by a singer-songwriter in some time. The genre might hinder (lol) creativity or originality, but Morrison has the talent to keep me engaged. His husky, scratchy tenor is so inviting. Whether he is crooning over strings in “Under The Influence” or leading a gospel choir in “Undiscovered”, Morrison’s voice is in total control. No matter what sort of lush (like a rain forest) instrumentation accompanies him, he is center stage. Stopping just short of asking for an autographed picture of this guy’s vocal chords, I will simply emphasize how soulful and impressive Undiscovered is.
Rather than a bunch of slow, mournful numbers, Undiscovered features many mid-tempo, piano tunes. “Wonderful World” is perhaps the best example. As Morrison unleashes his voice over the horns and piano of the chorus, the world really does seem like a better place. And, for a little white boy from Warwickshire, he sure can write an R & B song (“One Last Chance”). The influences on Undiscovered are varied, from classical to blues to soul to pop. The album already has four singles abroad, each one sounding like a different artist. If that won’t keep the fickle U.S. audience interested, I don’t know what will (Algebra equations?).
I touched on it earlier, but the title track is incredibly strong. More about lost love than a growing music career, “Undiscovered” WILL have my mother and me singing along in her Suburban this summer. It will be a joyous moment, and to Morrison, I am thankful. The last song we enjoyed together was “I Say A Little Prayer (For You)” from My Best Friend’s Wedding. With Morrison’s soulful number, we can bond and I can still keep my manhood.
Naturally, much of Morrison’s success hinges on the cooperation of Universal Records. The record has been out over a month, and I have heard little about this great talent (He’s been on Leno). A millionaire because of world sales, Morrison will release many more albums. Hopefully, his work catches on here. I really hate paying those ridiculous overseas shipping costs.
Recommended If You Like: Gavin DeGraw, James Taylor, MUSIC, Josh Ritter, American Idol