Friday, May 20, 2011


A bit rushed perhaps? This is the initial impression I get after a couple listens to Matthew Morrison’s self-titled debut from Mercury Records. The Disc combines new material co-penned by the handsome and talented Glee Actor, along with Duet Covers of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Gwyneth Paltrow), Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot (Sting) and Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters/Rocket Man (Elton John).

New tracks like first Single Summer Rain are reminiscent of Hey, Soul Sister (Train) and the even-stronger Still Tonight are safely aimed to the hearts of a mature Pop Audience and Adult Contemporary Radio Stations. Hey - one of two co-written contributions from N Sync’s JC Chasez - draws inspiration from the Islands like Summer Rain, a good sound for Morrison’s pristine Tenor. The other Chasez contribution Don’t Stop Dancing, is one of few moments the Disc veers remotely towards the up-tempo and this might be a little disappointing for some Glee Fans who have enjoyed some harder-hitting performances from Morrison.

The strength of the Disc lies in its three marquee Covers and this is both good and bad - good in that Morrison’s Guest Vocalists push him to work that extra bit harder; bad in that he is outshined in the end result. Even worse is that the original material we get here simply isn’t remarkable enough to launch a successful solo Career. This becomes even more obvious considering that we know what Morrison vocally is capable of on a weekly basis. Above this, the Listener gets a sense that artistically he is still figuring out his own musical strengths, sounding like a different Vocalist from track to track.

Perhaps he’s distanced himself a little too far from his Bread & Butter?  This appears to be a carefully-calculated move which seems now to have backfired. Case in point, Morrison's recently-announced Solo Tour has been cancelled due to low ticket sales while the Glee Live! In Concert! Tour on the contrary, has gone on to perform exceedingly well. One thing I find peculiar is that Morrison fails to acknowledge anything Glee-related in the Disc’s Liner Notes. Not even a mere “thank you”.

This Album definitely could’ve waited a bit longer and I think even Morrison is realizing this now. The problem here definitely is not the Artist – it’s the Material. Universal Music Canada releases Matthew Morrison, now in stores. Grade: C+

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