Test Spin: Jamie Cullum – cornellsun.com

Seven years ago, British Jazz sensation Jamie Cullum made his way across the pond with 2003’s Twentysomething. At the time Cullum was fresh out of college, a fact that was evident in lyrics. Case in point from the album’s title track: “After years of expensive education, a car full of books and anticipation, I’m an expert on Shakespeare and that’s a hell of a lot but the world don’t need scholars as much as I thought.” Thankfully for Cullum, the world can always use another talented musician.

Two weeks ago, Cullum unveiled his 3rd major label release to U.S. audiences. Entitled The Pursuit, the album is return to form for Cullum whose sophomore record, Catching Tales, received mix reviews due its overall inconsistency. Produced by Greg Wells (Katy Perry, OneRepublic) and Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, James Morrison), The Pursuit wisely repositions Cullum as a modern day crooner with pop rock sensibilities.

It’s evident that Cullum was very careful about how he slotted the tracks on this album, as they flow rather seamlessly. Lead single “I’m All Over It” is a fun, piano laden track with a grandiose chorus. It’s followed by “Wheels,” arguably the album’s most successful track, an instantly capturing song about the stresses of life. Cullum returns to his roots with covers of Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things” and the British classic “If I Ruled the World.” While originals “You and Me Are Gone” and “We Run Things” lean toward the more jazzy side of Cullum’s musical vocabulary, they’re offset by the peppier “Mixtape” and “Music is Through.”

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The standard version of the album is rounded out by the ballads “I Think, I Love” and “Not While I’m Around,” as well as a cover of Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop the Music.” Those smart enough to buy the extended edition will get four bonus tracks. Among them a live version of the Rihanna song and the theme song to the 2008 film Gran Torino. Plus the breezy gem “I Love This.” And love this album you will.

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