Album Review –

Jamie Cullum’s “The Pursuit”

By our guest blogger, Megan O’Malley

Jamie Cullum isn’t like most pop musicians. His influences don’t come from the latest Coldplay or U2 album. Instead, listeners are more likely to hear Billie Holiday-inspired pieces. Cullum’s music is jazzy and grown-up but not without pop sensibilities. In his fifth studio album “The Pursuit,” Cullum outdoes himself as he sings and plays into the hearts and ears of listeners everywhere.

This English heartthrob is very jazzy. The way he plays the piano and sings is just delightful and will keep listeners coming back for more. Yet in this day and age jazz isn’t necessarily what people want to hear. A couple of years ago there was a resurgence with Amy “hot mess” Winehouse and her good girl counterpart Duffy, but since then we haven’t heard much of anything. Michael Buble fits the bill somewhat, but Jamie Cullum is much cooler than him. Plus, Cullum plays instruments whereas Buble only sings. Cullum has the ability to relate to Buble fans as well as more main stream audiences because his music is enchanting.

“Just One of Those Things” sounds like a classic standard but with a much more rocking sound. His piano playing is what really takes the songs to the next level, especially on “I’m All Over It.” While piano music can be a tricky thing to accomplish, Cullum is a true artist and doesn’t rely only on the piano to make his song. The piano is just a part of it not the whole thing. Pianos play a huge part on “The Pursuit” but this album has lots of layers to each song. Cullum’s voice compliments his instrumentation nicely and sometimes he gets almost an Amy Winehouse quality with it. I think it’s the way he emphasizes certain phrases.

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Some of his songs go on too long, particularly “Music is Through.” It has a good solo in the middle, but the entire piece could have had two to three minutes cut out of it. “Mixtape” starts off kind of slow but quickly turns into this great piece of music that you kind of get lost in while you listen to it. The middle of the album gets kind of slow because there are some ballads that are back to back, but things pick up towards the end with “We Run Things.” “I love this” got my head bopping as soon as the chorus hit, it’s a great pop song and could help him break in with a more mainstream audience. Cullum is a gifted artist and more people need to hear his music. With five albums under his belt it’s only a matter of time before we may finally hear his songs on top-40 stations.

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