All Grown Up

Songs For You, Truths For Me (Interscope Records)
James Morrison

By Kory Wilcoxson

James Morrison seems too young to settle down. Rock stars like him should be writing songs about living "la vida loca" and breaking up with Jessica Simpson, not lullabies to their newborn baby and love songs to their longtime girlfriend. And yet that's just one of the things that set Morrison apart from other singer-songwriters.

Songs is Morrison's follow-up to his smash debut, Undiscovered, which yielded five top singles in his British homeland and opened some eyes on this side of the pond. Morrison's raspy voice evokes comparisons but is ultimately unique, a soulful tone which belies both his age and his skin color.

Morrison definitely takes a turn for the mature on Songs. Most of the tracks deal with either the painful side of love ("Nothing Ever Hurt Like You," "Love Is Hard") or the fear and expectation of becoming a parent ("Fix the World for You"). His duet with Nelly Furtado on "Broken Strings" combines two of the most intriguing voices in the business and it's very well done.

What's missing on Songs is some of the playfulness of "Undiscovered." A listener can only take so much earnestness before they need an emotional break and a good clap-along. Morrison pounds us with beautiful heartfelt truths, but I already miss the old Morrison.

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