|Rating: 3 / 5
Reviewer: Trent Depue
For The UK’s James Morrison, his third release The Awakening is an attempt at something of a personal re-emergence. Following the recent passing of his father, the subject matter revolves largely around that topic. But the record is more than just that, as Morrison try’s to update his image and move from the pop styling of his previous music to a more developed singer/songwriter. The title track is an important first step in the voyage, as it is the first song he has undertaken without the assistance of other writers.
Morrison has chosen a good moment to undertake this goal. He’s popular enough that the production value of The Awakening is far from lacking. String and brass accompaniment is abundant on the record and adds a positive dynamic to many of the album’s tracks. And needless to say he has a voice made for radio. Going back to his debut record Undiscovered, Morrison’s voice has been his driving force and that trend holds true now. ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ and ‘Up’ are the two most indicative tracks of this. ‘The Awakening’ also stands out. His first solely penned song, it is less ambitious musically than most of the record, but is a standout nonetheless.
The Awakening is a good first step for Morrison in achieving his goal of becoming a more dynamic and self-sufficient artist. But while it’s clear he still has a way to go, credit should be given to him for taking the first steps in moving forward.