Bleu

Redhead

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    8
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Headroom established Bleu as a Boston sensation, but his "Somebody Else" on the blockbuster Spiderman soundtrack introduced him to more mainstream audiences and paved the way for his second record, Redhead. While it is the proper follow-up to Headroom, Redhead also includes re-recorded versions of four cuts from that album, along with "Somebody Else" and nine new tracks. The most noticeable change from the debut is evident in the execution: The subtle electronic elements on Headroom, along with some of that disc's charming quirkiness, have been replaced with a muscular, straightforward mainstream rock sound. At first this can be a little disconcerting, since Redhead feels like a slightly more anonymous work, but the quality of the new cuts saves the entire affair. The Andy Sturmer co-penned cut "Could Be Worse" sounds exactly like you'd imagine -- Bleu and Jellyfish mixed together, with an end product something like Supertramp. Storming power pop like "Ursula Major, Ursula Minor" sits comfortably next to gorgeous ballads like "We'll Do It All Again." Bleu does occasionally let his more maudlin, dramatic vocal sensibilities run wild here, making him at times sound like a rockier Rufus Wainwright, but even the biggest departures aren't shockingly different from Headroom. Redhead is just a pop record, but it feels like a manifesto, playing smoothly from end to end. Fans of modern guitar pop and singer/songwriters can't miss with this. [The 2003 Columbia re-release of Redhead adds two songs to the track listing (the crashing album opener "Get Up" and "That's When I Crash") and deletes three songs: "Sayonara," "Feet Don't Fail" and "Ursula Major, Ursula Minor". The addition of "Get Up" makes Redhead a stronger album but it is too bad the decision to cut "Sayonara" was made as the track (which features the girls of Puffy on background vocals) was one of the album's highlights.]

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