The Neville Brothers made a bid for pop/rock stardom with this well-produced album for A&M, their first under a new pact with the label inked in the late '80s. It was certainly as solid as any they cut for A&M; the vocals were both nicely arranged and expertly performed, the arrangements were basically solid, and the selections were intelligently picked and sequenced. The album charted and remained there for many weeks, while the Nevilles toured and generated lots of interest. It didn't become a hit, but it did respectably and represents perhaps their finest overall pop LP.
A Complete Reggae Version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. The Easy Star All-Stars' stunning reinvention of this beloved record has been on the Billboard reggae charts since its 2003 release and features recordings with guest vocal appearances by Frankie Paul, Corey Harris, Gary "Nesta" Pine (of the Wailers), The Meditations, Dr. Israel, Ranking Joe, Sluggy Ranks, and more. Every detail is there, from sound effects to Wizard of Oz synchronicity.
James Blunt may never live down the success of his first single, "You're Beautiful." It made him a star in 2004 yet it also pegged him as the kind of sad-sack singer/songwriter beloved of doctors' offices the world over, which may be enough to sustain a living but not a career. Blunt is savvy enough to realize this and he started to broaden and enliven his craft fairly quickly, abandoning the slow-footed ballads of Back to Bedlam for a richly textured pop that eventually gained some semblance of color by the time Some Kind of Trouble rolled around in 2010. Three years later, Moon Landing arrived and although its title suggest some kind of spectral scope, it's not quite as lively as its predecessor, preferring the exquisitely textured adult contemporary pop of Dido, but giving those intricately produced ballads insistent melodies and rhythms. Sometimes, Blunt's phrasing can lapse into solipsistic moans – this is especially true when the electronics are stripped away and the tempos slow – but when everything is relatively sprightly, the feel is surprisingly appealing, even though Blunt can't help but piggyback on styles that are a guaranteed rocket to the Top 40.