Nate james - set the tone - one two - Album Review
set the tone
Release date august 1 st
Around February 2004 I remember getting a promo of a track by this talented new kid called Nate James called “Set The Tone”. When I heard it hairs stood up on the bank of my neck and I thought god I can’t wait to hear this guys album. A year and a bit on the album hits the mat and I bust a gut to get in the CD player. The album is like one of those
blockbuster movies, no not action packed, full of twists and turns, having you sitting on the edge of your seat. More like one of those block busters with all the hype and then it feels a let down when you see it, lets put it this way if this album was a movie it would be a Thunderbirds not a Star Wars. I so wanted this album to have that same passion and feeling as “Set The Tone”. Instead it sounds like this album has been A&R by a pop person in a major label that doesn’t give a toss about soul and it’s true values. For sure there are glimpses of how good this album could and should have been, besides the breathtaking “Set The Tone” title track. For starters there is the catchy, infectious, classy, feel good factor, instant, soul dancer “Funky Love”, this has enough potential to cross to the masses without taking Nate away from his soul based roots and in truth should have been the second single. If Lemar can break the national charts then so could have Nate with this track. The track is perfect in every sense of the word it walks the specialist and cross over border with such ease and had the rest of the album been in this mould I wouldn’t have moaned. The summer sounding, Stevie Wonder harmonica inspired “I Don’t Wanna Fight” is another classic that would be accepted by everyone. “Impossible” again shows what a huge talent this man is vocally, lyrically and production wise. Sadly these awesome tracks are badly let down by tracks such as “The Message”, “Justify Me” “Shake Out” and “I’ll Decline”. This album is messy, it doesn’t seem to know where it wants to be there is rock, pop pulp, and soul and I’m sorry to say they don’t work together. Pop people might love it, but I doubt it, real heads will feel let down. This album may not have been a John Legend even if it had been done to perfection because he is not American and the label unless it has loads of money to through at it wouldn’t have been able to create the same impact. But I’m damn sure it could have been an Amy Winehouse and sold reasonable figures as an album without the budget going through the roof. I think this album will get buried, I just hope it doesn’t take one of our brightest talents with it.
For the four good cuts 4/5 For the rest 1/5 (and that’s generous)