Michael Bolton

One World One Love

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Never let it be said that Michael Bolton is ignorant of his times. He may not always participate in them -- he spent the better part of the new millennium on the sidelines, occasionally singing covers, even indulging in an album-long tribute to Sinatra -- but he’s aware of them, as One World One Love, released in the U.K. in 2009 and the U.S. in 2010, illustrates. For his first mainstream pop album since 2002, he immerses himself in cool contemporary trends, trading heavily in Auto-Tune, enlisting Ne-Yo and a pre-fame Lady Gaga for a collaboration, dabbling in some reggae rhythms, adapting some coolly synthesized rhythms without ever quite achieving the iciness of Ryan Tedder. Strangely, Bolton’s impeccably recorded adult contemporary seems much warmer than most modern AC, something that goes a long way toward making One World One Love appealing: even though the songs are, as a whole, not as memorable as his earliest hits, there’s a nice easy confidence here -- it’s the sound of an old pro doing what he does best.

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