NPR logo Pop and Soul, with a Ghostly Moan

Pop and Soul, with a Ghostly Moan

Pieces Don't Fit Anymore

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore"
  • Artist: James Morrison
  • CD: Undiscovered
  • Genre: Pop/Soul

U.K. singer James Morrison mixes the smoky soul of Terence Trent D'Arby with the catchy crooning of James Blunt. hide caption

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James Morrison's debut album Undiscovered made him a star in his native U.K. last summer, and the disc's release here portends similarly big things: Mixing the smoky soul of Terence Trent D'Arby with the catchy crooning of James Blunt, the 22-year-old is nothing if not commercially viable. At times, Undiscovered falls back on agreeable but conventional neo-soul, but on "The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore," Morrison seizes on a hauntingly snaky hook that burrows under the skin.

The ghostly moan that runs through "The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore" immediately brings to mind the work of Antony (of Antony & The Johnsons), whose androgynous voice has graced what seem like dozens of albums in the last few years. Running through the track as if it were a looped keyboard hook, Morrison's backing vocal provides a nice counterpoint to his showier lead, on which he passionately mourns a love gone wrong. Musically, he's not reinventing anything here, but he's crafted a smoky winner with enough pop potential to make him more than just the English singing sensation du jour.

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