The sad truth is that I hadn't heard of James Morrison before listening to Songs for You, Truths for Me. Jim Morrison and the Doors, sure. But James Morrison was an unknown. Turns out he had an album, Undiscovered, which never got much airplay here in the United States.
So how is Songs for You, Truths for Me? Pretty good actually. He's got a lot of soul for an Englishman. His smoky voice works well for me in concert with his slower ballads.
There's a progression of songs on the album, from "The Only Night" through "Broken Strings" that rides the waves of a relationship. There's "The Only Night," where two people steal away together and "You Make It Real," where the singer speaks to his better half who's helping him through tough times. And the relationship arc runs through "Please Don't Stop the Rain" and "Broken Strings" until the end of the affair.
My favorite song on the album, "Broken Strings," is a duet with Nelly Furtado about a bad breakup. Given how well their two voices sound together, I was shocked to read a Billboard interview that Morrison wanted the song pulled from the album. But his label saw the hit potential, and that's held true with the song reaching heights in the charts in the U.K. and Europe.
From the breakup of "Broken Strings," we encounter the soul/blues sound of Motown and "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You," which is probably my second favorite track on the album. It moves along at a steady clip as Morrison's bluesy voice expresses the pain of moving on when a relationship ends.
The rest of Songs For You, Truths For Me repeats the progression a bit, with "Once When I Was Little" ruminating on when the world was a simpler place; to finding a new "Precious Love" of a rebound that may not have worked, which seems likely based on the bluesy "If You Don't Wanna Love Me." At last, there is the realization that "Love is Hard."
Morrison is at his best when he slows things down or sticks with the Motown sound. He has an amazing gift. I just hope that Songs for You, Truths for Me gets the airplay it deserves. Be sure to check it out at a music store near you or at your favorite online retailer.