Julia Nunes

Settle Down

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One of the few YouTube stars to actually forge a career outside the video-sharing site, 23-year-old New Yorker Julia Nunes has toured with the likes of Ben Kweller and Ben Folds, appeared on Conan and performed at the Bonnaroo Festival since racking up nearly 50 million views with both her own material and covers of artists as diverse as Nat King Cole and Justin Bieber. Funded entirely through the Kickstarter project, her third full-length album, Settle Down, is by far her most polished to date, even if the majority of its rather generous 18 tracks feature little more than Nunes' hearty Paula Cole-esque tones and her trusted ukulele. Initially, its simplicity is beguiling, from the harmony-laden beachside folk of "Odd" (one of six re-recordings of her previous work), to the enchanting, glockenspiel-led "Fair Weather," to the heartfelt, stripped-back acoustics of "Lookout for Yourself." But the minimal approach begins to lose its novelty appeal once the umpteenth similar ditty kicks in, with only the unashamed romanticism of "I Will Go Anywhere with You" possessing any kind of unique quality to latch onto. The slightly seductive flamenco blues of "Comatose," the shuffling country-pop of "Nothing's That Great" and the delightfully breezy lead single, "Stay Awake," proves she's capable of pursing a more expansive sound without neglecting the quirks which charmed so many YouTube viewers. And it's this direction which Nunes needs to explore more often if she's to truly break away from her amateurish beginnings.

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