Luck serves some of us less than others. For James Blunt, he wrote a song called You’re Beautiful and everything fell kindly into place. For the rest of us, we have the pleasure of watching Blunt getting richer and richer, from one album to the next. A figure of mockery he may be, but you imagine he manages to see past that when taking residency in Ibiza, writing his next gold-selling album.
Some Kind Of Trouble is an upbeat affair that may indeed convey Blunt’s current state of comfort. And although the former army officer declares himself somewhat separate from a Hollywood scene many associate him with, there’s a distinct whiff of Americanism here; with the song’s opening track spelling out what’s to come with a chorus line of “We’re all spinning on our heels, so far away from real, in Californ-i-a”. Album for the recession-hit, this is not.
But can Blunt do right? One minute he’s declared a sappy, naïve fool who writes songs about beautiful girls and releases them as Number 1 singles, the next he’s milking his subsequent happiness for all of us to see. This is a cheery album; sickeningly so. But it’s a career change rather than some sadistic, jealously-fuelling showpiece.
Aside from the predictable radio-friendly bulk, the only truly uncomfortable moment comes in the form of Turn Me On; a sex-ravished, sweaty and slightly uncharacteristic number, with Blunt – hair fully swept back – crying “underwater, with someone’s daughter, gonna make you a dirty woman”. For a bog-standard piano ballad, for This Love Again to follow immediately after the pulsating frenzy is even more perplexing.
But when Blunt sticks to playing it safe, he offends the least. And whilst it seems contrived to applaud an artist for sticking to his zone, this man is an exceptional case. Although short of a defining track (Calling Out Your Name is the standout, at a push), Some Kind Of Trouble is crammed with playable songs, unimaginative and glossy as they may be.
And so the wiseman lives on, continuing on his journey of hit records and luxury apartments. This album, like all of those that preceded it and will doubtless follow, is made to sell. But you can’t blame a man for making the most of a lucky strike.