Simply Red


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Life failed to deliver on the glories of Stars largely because the album lacked the strong original songwriting of its predecessor. Similarly, Blue, the follow-up to Life, is weak on original material. However, Mick Hucknall makes up for the deficits by assembling a good collection of outside material, ranging from Gregory Isaacs' "Night Nurse" to Neil Young's "Mellow My Mind." Initially, Blue was going to be a covers album, and judging by these numbers -- along with Dennis Brown's "Ghetto Girl" and one of the two versions of the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe," not the superfluous chart-grabbing Stevie J. production that replicates all the bad parts of Puff Daddy -- it would have been a great, sultry listen. Instead, he's followed through on an album that accentuates his weaknesses as a writer. Granted, he can oversing on occasion, but if Blue does anything, it proves that his voice is his greatest talent and that he should dedicate himself to material that serves it well.

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