Pure Ballads is not as charmingly romantic a compilation as one might think upon first glance, as instead of songs to set the mood for a night with that special someone, it includes a variety of romance-lite tracks that range from simple infatuation to being helplessly in love to having one's heart smashed into pieces on the ground. It all basically works in that light rock radio station sort of way, since most songs are elegant, heart-on-the-sleeve slow jams preferred by such listeners (Bryan Adams, Boyz II Men, Annie Lennox, Simply Red, etc). And while the contributions of acts like Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Daniel Bedingfield, and Nelly Furtado give the collection a more contemporary feel, they still seem a bit weird and out of place paired up with the adult alternative fare, and the collection plays a bit jerkily as a result. Though it's not totally clear what the intent behind this collection is, for those wanting a mix of old and new, Pure Ballads works well enough, but that's still not saying much.
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AllMusic Review by Corey Apar