ALBUM: "All the Lost Souls"
Backstory: Blunt's debut album sold 11 million copies worldwide, largely on the back of the ubiquitous "You're Beautiful," a gushy, over-the-top ballad about a girl he never spoke to.
Why you should care: Because you won't be able to escape it anyway. "All the Lost Souls" doesn't much alter the formula that made Blunt a wealthy man: "One Of The Brightest Stars," "Carry You Home" and "I Really Want You" are all earnest, sentimental love songs in the "You're Beautiful" mode, with delicate acoustic guitars and pianos building toward slick, grandiose bridges and choruses. Blunt's voice--a fey, absurdly high-pitched coo that makes Cat Stevens sound like Glenn Danzig--remains a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, regardless of whether he's whispering quietly or belting. But when he tries rocking out, snarling things like "I've taken a s---load of drugs" on "Give Me Some Love," Blunt proves thoroughly unconvincing.
Verdict: Sure, it's well-crafted, formulaic, soft-rock pabulum, but what were you expecting?
X-Factor: Blunt is still embroiled in a royalty dispute over six songs from his debut, "Back to Bedlam." Los Angelesbased producer Lukas Burton, who has worked with Paul McCartney and Dido, claims he deserves co-songwriting credit on tracks like "Goodbye My Lover." Says Burton of Blunt when the two first met: "His stuff was crude, occasionally laughably direct, and betrayed his relative lack of musicianship." Ouch.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times