Pulled this one of the shelf and man-oh-man-oh-man I had forgotten how much I dig it. It's on the Verve label, but it's more popish than jazz. Allmusic describes the sound as "a hip amalgamation of Harry Connick, Jr. and Randy Newman" and since I can't come up with a better description, let's go with that. At times, Cullum sounds like a good-natured lounge pianist and other times he comes across as a deft interpreter of other people's songs. The wide range of covers here includes songs by Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, Pharrell, Jeff Buckley and standards from Lerner & Lowe and Cole Porter. Cullum is able to take this diverse group, mix in his own stuff, and make a coherent album. Cullum doesn't have a great voice, he's an adequate piano player, but he's a fantastic, entertaining musician (if that makes any sense).
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #83
Tracks: My favorite track is the Cullum original All At Sea. I also enjoy These Are The Days, written by Cullum's older brother Ben. Of the covers, I like Wind Cries Mary, Singing In The Rain, High And Dry, and Frontin'. I usually skip But For Now and the unremarkable take on Blame It On My Youth. I don't often say this, but this album is a tad too long (15 tracks, 63 minutes). At about 12 tracks, it would have been perfect.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I picked this up as an impulse buy at the local Wal-Mart and kept it in my car for those long trips to grad school classes. At the time, I was thirtysomething, not twentysomething, but there was something unnerving about hearing the following lyrics when I was a grad student:
After years of expensive educationYikes.
A car full of books and anticipation
I'm an expert on Shakespeare and that's a hell of a lot
But the world don't need scholars as much as I thought