Dispensing with the brooding insularity of 2007’s sophomore affair All the Lost Souls, James Blunt opts for optimism on his third album, 2010’s Some Kind of Trouble. The shift in tenor is immediately apparent on the jaunty acoustic opener “Stay the Night” and the slick, sleek pulse of “Dangerous,” a song tailor-made for upscale cocktail hours, and if Blunt occasionally slows the tempo, he never strays from this aesthetic, never letting his ballads drift into the morose. In a sense, this lightness suggests that Blunt has succumbed to his role as a MOR crooner, as there are no attempts at David Grey profundity as there were on All the Lost Souls, but ultimately, this is for the best because Blunt’s strength is his embrace of soft rock cliché, whether he’s murmuring about a “Heart of Gold” over crawling chords, or cheerfully bouncing along on “I’ll Be Your Man.” Occasionally, he is hamstrung by the incessant, inherent whine in his voice, which always benefits from the dressing of production, and which is why the propulsive tunes here, like “These Are the Words” are the best. But Some Kind of Trouble is a step in the right direction for Blunt, a move toward love songs free of pretension.
Some Kind of Trouble Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine