Album Review: James Morrison – THE AWAKENING

ImageI am more on the R&B and soul side of music, with a little bit of Pop Rock/Contemporary.  And when you mash blues, soul and pop rock, one artist emerges on top—James Morrison.  I can be called as one of his biggest fans since the start of his career back in 2006 with the release of his debut album Undiscovered.  When I first heard the song “You Give Me Something”, I was really curious who sang it, and was jealous of the raspy, soulful sound of his voice.  Then when I heard that it was James Morrison, I grabbed the album and listen to it over and over again.  Then in 2008 he released his second album Songs For You, Truths For Me and I immediately got addicted to the whole album!  Then in 2012 he released his 3rd studio album The Awakening.  Up until now I try very hard to imitate him, would pray to the Lord just to have his raspy authentic voice, and perform his songs in front of a mirror with a phone as mic.  And learning to play the guitar is at the top of my bucket list.  That’s how I am obsessed about James Morrison!

Let’s get into his music and check his latest offering The Awakening.  Is it better than Song For You, Truths For Me?  Morrison says that The Awakening is his most personal album to date.  The album is influenced by the death of his father, as well as his own steps into parenthood.  Lyrically without question, James Morrison is absolutely exceptional.  He has written all of his songs since the first album and he has never failed to capture the minds and hearts of many.  Let’s check the tracks:

  1. In My Dreams – Right off the bat, the first song is about his father, who passed away due to extreme alcoholism and depression.  At first I thought it is a love song, but when I heard from his interview that this song is the most personal song he has written for his father, I was moved to tears.  It’s a very touching song, aching yet hopeful.  One of my favourite songs in the album.
  2. 6 Weeks – Another song for his father.  How on earth did he ever write these songs and made it easy listening?  James Morrison is a GENIUS.  The chorus “Are you on your way | have you finally find some place you can call your own?” and some hopeful lyrics such as “Fly like a Superman | just like you always dreamt of” only suggest that James wanted his father to be happy wherever he is now. *sigh*
  3. I Won’t Let You Go – This is his carrier single of the album.  Of course I fell in love with this tune the first time I heard it.  Saw the music video and I fell in love with it even more.  It’s a very melodic love song, a known trademark of the only James Morrison.
  4. Up Feat. Jessie J – The only duet he did for the album and he did it with the stunning Jessie J.  This is probably Morrison’s counterpart for Broken Strings (which sold 4.5 million worldwide, his biggest hit).  The song is about the relationship and struggles of James’ dad, battling with depression.  I just love the song, and pretty inspirational for my own life.
  5. Slave To The Music – I. Can’t. Wait. To. See. This. Song. Performed. LIVE.  It lightens the mood of the whole album.  This up-tempo song is groovin’, rockin’, and everything in between!
  6. Person I Should Have Been – Another personal favourite of mine.  The song is written by James solely as a poem he developed after his last conversation with his dying father.  The emotion is so raw, you could feel James’ sentiments of how he wanted to help his father to be the Person he should have been.
  7. Say Something Now – Okay.  This song is a vocal master class!  This song reminds me why I loved James Morrison in the first place.  His voice is marvellous and authentic, no one sounds like him.  AMAZING.
  8. Beautiful Life – Another up-tempo track of the album.  I think this is the song that he has written for his daughter Elsie.  It’s a fun and celebratory track, giving us an icebreaker from all the other dramatic songs in the album.
  9. Forever – This song gives me the same vibe as his song Nothing Ever Hurt Like You.  This song is infectious, and again showcases his powerful and soulful vocals.
  10. The Awakening – The title track is also one of his finest works in the album.  This song tells us the journey James went through up until the creation of this new album.  “Float through the summer breeze | put my twisted mind at ease | all the troubles of the world just drifts away.” Such an inspirational, feel-good and easy listening song suited for everyone.
  11. Right By Your Side – This is the ultimate song of the album.  Beautifully written and spectacularly sung, this song is one of the best songs of the album.  I will try my very best to sing this song nearly as good as James, but of course I can’t.  Last time I checked, this song is one of the most played songs in my iPod.
  12. One Life – Okay, let me correct myself, THIS is THE BEST SONG IN THE ALBUM!  It shows how James has become who he is today.  It’s uplifting and inspirational, tells you that, “You only get one life | so make sure you live it right.”  Damn you James, you’re making me cry again! *sniff sniff*
  13. All Around The World [Bonus Track] – As a bonus track, I wasn’t paying much attention to it.  Again, James Morrison’s vocals were superb.

Final Thoughts: Not as good as the previous albums he did, but still an amazing one.  You have to listen to the album a couple of times to let the gems shine.  The songs were all heartfelt and raw, signs of a real great musician.  James Morrison is a true artist through and through.  I am a bigger fan now more than ever.

Songs to be put on your Playlist: One Life, I Won’t Let You Go, In Your Dreams, Up, Right By Your Side, The Awakening, Person I Should Have Been (just about EVERYTHING!)

Grab this album if you like: James Morrison, Jason Mraz, James Blunt, Ed Sheeran, and more James Morrison

4.5 out of 5

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