James Blunt's ballads have always sounded emotionally lopsided, like inspirational speeches in search of a hard time. Compared to his past three albums, Moon Landing feels loose, almost rugged, though he still seems to bank on the fantasy of a world where most problems can be solved with a kind word or a warm bath. When he does beat his breast – like on "Bonfire Heart" or "Bones" – he does it gently. To give credit where it's due: It takes confidence to be this sentimental, and Blunt probably doesn't deserve half the criticism he's inspired. His worst enemy is still his own voice, an agitated whimper that makes even tender lines sound strangely like complaints.
From The Archives Issue 1196: November 21, 2013