Monday, November 15, 2010

James Blunt - Some Kind of Trouble

After attending James Blunt's performance of songs from his latest album, I finally had his latest release "Some kind of Trouble" in my hands. Dispensing with the brooding insularity of 2007’s sophomore affair All the Lost Souls, Blunt opts for optimism on his third album, 2010’s Some Kind of Trouble. The shift in tenor is immediately apparent on the jaunty acoustic opener “Stay the Night” and the slick, sleek pulse of “Dangerous,” a song tailor-made for upscale cocktail hours, and if Blunt occasionally slows the tempo, he never strays from this aesthetic, never letting his ballads drift into the morose. In a sense, this lightness suggests that Blunt has succumbed to his role as a MOR crooner, as there are no attempts at Ray LaMontagne profundity as there were on All the Lost Souls, but ultimately, this is for the best because Blunt’s strength is his embrace of soft rock cliché, whether he’s murmuring about a “Heart of Gold” over crawling chords, or cheerfully bouncing along on “I’ll Be Your Man.” Occasionally, he is hamstrung by the incessant, inherent whine in his voice, which always benefits from the dressing of production, and which is why the propulsive tunes here, like “These Are the Words” are the best. But Some Kind of Trouble is a step in the right direction for Blunt, a move toward love songs free of pretension.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Central Coast California

Just returned from a great vacation with friends on the central coast of California. We started off by touring the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, then spent the next day in Cambria where we hung out on Moonstone beach watching the monk seals basking in the sun. We then headed to the wineries of Paso Robles where we tasted yummy, fruity red and white wines. My favorite was Castoro Cellars where we were treated with chocolate truffles along with some dessert muscat wines. Later we made our way down to Pismo Beach where we stayed at the Cliffs Resort right on Shell beach. We managed to fit in visits to Morro Bay and the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo as well.