James Morrison – [Album]

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a little ripped off by “In My Dreams,” the first track on James Morrison’s album The Awakening. I have come to expect passion and depth from Morrison and this tune feels as though he has regressed into a “simple” singer-songwriter. He has such an inviting and tantalizing voice, I wish he would open up a little more and share something a little more profound with his audience. This song sounds like it is directed at his one true love about their today, tomorrow and yesterday, but I’m left feeling like it was written inside a birthday card in the car outside the restaurant he made reservations for the day he realized he forgot her birthday; the song is just missing something and that it is the introduction to the album feels like it will be a let-down for listeners.  

James Morrison is talented to say the very least but, in order to be a show-stopping singer-songwriter and stand out among all the rest, he needs to find power in his experience. I find it hard to believe that he doesn’t have a more profound view on life growing up with divorced parents, an alcohol abusing and depressed father, being ostracized in school for being a musician and, undoubtedly, numerous failed relationships. Even the struggle that every musician faces with the ups and downs of the industry can be very trying, there has to be some deep thoughts he can share with us about how he has survived – so where are they?

The title track lets us in a little. Upbeat and stompy, “The Awakening” expresses what it was like to wake up from what I gathered is a depression and finally seeing what everyone else had seen. It gives us a glimpse of a hard-knock life we all know and grow from. While I appreciate that this was written in a way that can touch anyone and be related to by many, I'd like to know more, as this only scratches the surface of the experience. I want it deeper, I want to start by feeling the pain in his voice and I want to rise to triumph with him. Each time I listen, I feel the same way at the end that I did at the beginning: sort of like I am still contemplating life. This song has the potential to give me hope and a sense of accomplishment and motivation, but it just left me feeling, “meh!”

Kudos to Morrison for choosing to team up with Jessie J on the duet “Up.” Jessie J has never sounded so good; toning down her usual upbeat flow as she does, she should be proud of her performance here, because it really does add another dimension to her public persona. While she didn’t write the tune, she sings it like she owns it and I barely noticed that James has any part of it.  

While I don’t give a total thumbs down to The Awakening, it will likely only get played in my house on rainy days and days when I am too deep in thought to worry about the lyrics. This album will be played in the background on days when I have my girlfriends over to gab about life. This album will be overlooked on my iTunes list almost daily and, when selected, there will only be a few choice songs which get a spin before I move on. Overall, The Awakening is mellow, simple and far too literal. Write again James, when you have some sorrow to share.



The Awakening
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.