James Blunt may have the best-selling album of the century in the UK, but in America, he’s still a one-hit wonder. For all the folderol about his success here, only “You’re Beautiful” (a No. 1 hit) made the top 40. People were impressed that a white man with a guitar – and a Brit, no less – could top the American charts in an era dominated by hip-hop and R&B. Thus, his impact was a bit overstated.
Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, they always used to say, and Mr. Blunt has employed a cadre of pop and hip-hop producers for his sophomore album, All the Lost Souls, which comes out September 18th. Billboard (via Yahoo) previews his album:
Although Blunt penned the bulk of the songs, he asked EMI Music Publishing to partner him with some writers — but not necessarily the obvious choices. Among the pairings were Mark Batson (50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Beyoncé) and Max Martin (Kelly Clarkson, Pink, ‘N Sync).
Hmmm. Well, Max Martin’s a no-brainer. He is the go-to guy for pop artists looking for an “edgier” but still radio-ready sound; he co-wrote tunes like Clarkson‘s “Since U Been Gone” and Pink’s “U + Ur Hand.” Batson seems like a much more adventurous choice; his most notable credit is producing rapper The Game‘s song, “Higher” (“It’s not that I can’t stop/It’s that I won’t stop.”) Listen to that song and imagine him turning the knobs on a James Blunt power ballad.
For what it’s worth, The Sun‘s Victoria Newton says James Blunt’s new album cover is “the best she’s seen for years.” Yeah, it’s not worth much.
In related news, Mr. Blunt faces a lawsuit over royalties from his best-selling album, Back to Bedlam. Blunt claims primary songwriting credit, but record producer Lukas Burton says he co-wrote six songs. The Independent quotes a blistering blog post Burton made about Blunt’s musical talent when they first met:
“His stuff was crude, occasionally laughably direct, and betrayed his relative lack of musicianship or discernible influence,” he wrote. “But I kind of loved the guy. He was great looking in a short-arsed Tom Cruise-y kind of way and he had this girlish singing style that brilliantly offset his back story.” He added: “It would probably be an overstatement to say that in terms of his professional musical aspirations James had nothing going on, but he definitely had next to nothing going on.”
“Great looking in a short-arsed Tom Cruise-y kind of way”? “Girlish” but “brilliant” “singing style”? We have a frontrunner for 2007′s award for Most Backhanded Compliments in a Single Paragraph.