June 2, 2010

A Sweet Surprise

Although I definitely plan for this blog to have oodles of recipes and food-related posts, at the moment I admit that I don’t exactly know when I’m going to make it to the grocery store this week. Keeping this obstacle in mind, please know that there will be cooking posts up soon, but for now, I thought I’d kick off another area of the blog…music!

The first album that I’m going to review is one of my all-time favorites. “The Pursuit” by British jazz/pop/really-shouldn’t-be-limited-to-labeling Jamie Cullum effortlessly flows between revamped jazz classics to techno-influenced dance tunes to fun, unassuming love songs and more.
Along with several EPs and singles, “The Pursuit” is Cullum’s fifth major album. The fact that a fifth album is this good is what truly speaks to Cullum’s talent. It seems like so many artists nowadays start off with a good album or two at most and then tend to venture too far from what they started with and end up stranded in the Land of Generic Pop Ballads, which is a bad place to be my friends…a very bad place to be. Unlike so many others, each of Cullum’s albums grow in depth and complexity, both in music and lyrics. Combining this with a voice with “a wise old rasp that usually takes decades of chain-smoking to acquire” and you’ve got a keeper.1

Now, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering what the “sweet surprise” is, am I right? Well, as I was doing a bit of research for this review, so it would say more than “Jamie Cullum rocks!” I came across a tidbit of information that made me love him all the more.
Get this: I learned from his website biography that his other greatest passions include cooking and eating! After I picked my fangirl jaw up off the floor, I was delighted that this would actually connect Jamie Cullum to my food blog premise (I have to warn you that there are many things I plan to discuss that will not). So yes, Cullum loves to cook, to the point that he even keeps keyboards and recording equipment in his kitchen for when inspiration strikes. I’m sorry, but adding this to the fact that he co-wrote and performed the track “Gran Torino” with Clint Eastwood himself, officially ups Jamie Cullum’s coolness factor by about a million for me. You’ll have to read on and listen to some tracks for yourself to see if you agree (which I think you will…just sayin’).

Oh, a quick side note. I learned that one of Jamie’s major musical influences is Tom Waits. Seeing as one of my other favorite musicians, Keith Harkin (trust me, you will hear more about him later), is a big fan of him as well, I’m wondering if I’m missing out on something? I’ve listened to a song or two on YouTube, but I haven’t been bitten by the bug just yet. Anyone care to enlighten me on this subject?

Anyway, this post is about Jamie Cullum, not Tom Waits, however good he may end up being, so read on!

The Songs

Just One of Those Things
First of all, the entire first verse of this classic is a new contribution from Jamie which blends in quite nicely with a much older tune. Throughout the song, he’s able to show off a more jazzy side as well as some serious piano skillz (as I like to spell it).

I’m All Over It
What can I say? This song is charming, delightful, and oddly empowering. Top it off with a cute music video and you’re golden!

Although a nice respite from the previous songs, this one’s still strong enough to hold your attention. A little melancholy in my opinion, though.

If I Ruled the World
The slower tempo of this song gives off a really nice, idealistic vibe. Lyrics such as “If I ruled the world, every man would say the world was his friend” really stick with you.

You and Me Are Gone
Starts off with a swing-y beat that just grows more and more frantic till the end.

Don’t Stop the Music
Please do stop the music. In short, I just don’t like the arrangement of this song. It’s nothing personal; it’s just not my thing.

Love Ain’t Gonna Let You Down
In contrast, J’adore this song! It’s got powerful, reassuring lyrics and a bluesy beat that make it a standout track on this cd.

This is a fun tribute to different musical tastes that glides along at lightning speed. Just don’t get it too stuck in your head. It can get annoying…I would know.

I Think, I Love
Just a gorgeous, old school sound combined with charming, unorthodox lyrics. Definitely a favorite.

We Run Things
This one has a more edgy sound to it. I like it, yet I don’t really understand what it’s about.

Not While I’m Around
A beautiful rendition. The simple, confident tone builds to a powerful end that leaves you speechless.

Music is Through
Boogy-able. Is that a word? If it isn’t it should be because it perfectly describes this song. It’s got an interesting, space-agey, techno sound to it. Also good for highway driving.

I Love This
Laidback, positive song that I’m always glad to listen to. 

Gran Torino
This song is just plain astounding. After all the other songs on the cd, this one has such a lovely, contemplative, haunting simplicity that stays with you.

1Quote from a review on iTunes. It’s an awesome quote and it deserves credit.


  1. AnonymousJune 02, 2010

    eeeeeeeek!!!!!! KEEF! hahaha sorry. I just wanted to post something on here!!!!!!

  2. Yes! Keef indeed. Trust me, we'll be hearing more about him!

  3. AnonymousJune 05, 2010

    Love Jamie Cullum and thought his version of Not While I'm Around was beautiful. You have good taste, please list more favorites. Gracias.


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