His music hits the spot and touches the heart !
Jimmy.M | New York City,USA | 12/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being dropped by a major label in 2002, Mick Hucknall promptly formed his own net-based company.
Simply Red's hopelessly misguided decision to go their own way as a cottage industry without record company backing may have killed their career at one suicidal stroke, but luckily Mick watched his next two records hit the bestsellers' chart.
Most likely this third self-release will undoubtedly repeat the feat.
Reduced budgets and concomitant cheap packaging notwithstanding, it finds Mick Hucknall at his most vocally seductive in years, although at one English-mangling point, he manages to rhyme "tirade" with "laugh".
His music hits the spot and touches the heart and this album has many charms.
Not that there is a dull track on Hucknall's self-financed latest tour de force, but as ever it is the token cover version that ticks every box.
The likes of "So Not Over You" and "Stay (Just The Way You Are") articulate, simply and succinctly, complex adult emotions in one shot.
However, rather than raiding yet another slice of Philadelphia, Red tackles Ronnie Lane's "Debris" to devastating effect, and audiences are further stretched on the Santana-style "Money TV" and on the folksy "Little Englander", complete with a school choir stolen from Pink Floyd's "The Wall".
He's even upped his songwriting game, with the impossibly romantic "The World and You Tonight" and the title track.
Meanwhile "The Death of the Cool" and "Little Englander" suggest a sense of humour and a still smouldering fire respectively.
For all the gorgeous renditions of heartbreaking ballads, tender love songs and uplifting anthems, he retains a lyrical spikiness unusual in the genre. His music may have drifted inexorably towards the middle of the road, yet his outspoken politicism lingers. It is hard to imagine any of his American contemporaries delivering the kind of state-of-the-nation addresses that appear on his new album - out and out polemics such as "Money TV" or "The Death of the Cool".
He ends his new album with a delightfully scabrous waltz, "Little Englander", deriding the nation's over-inflated sense of itself. "Judge me, go on - it amuses me," he announces, before concluding, surprisingly sweetly, "Let me smash the plastic face of my lovely country".
Very interesting, isn't it?"