Taller by Jamie Cullum
By Ron Powers
Taller by Jamie Cullum
It’s been four years since Jamie Cullum released original music. Now he’s back with his 8th studio album “Taller”. Cullum’s new effort is made up of ten masterfully produced jazz-pop songs and is hands down some of the best work of his career. Each song flows effortlessly into the next all while maintaining a contrast that holds the listeners attention. In addition, it’s a well-rounded and balanced album packed with perfectly crafted melodies that have just the right mix of soul, pop, and jazz. Cullum’s vocal performance shines bright throughout as he delivers spot on toplines with his signature smooth yet raspy voice.
The record kicks off with the title track and lead single “Taller”; A boom bopping hit with a big bad groove that reveals Cullum as both vulnerable and tough. Next we hear the up close and intimate “Life Is Grey”. On this tune we notice Cullum’s deeper and reflective side. Track three is called “Mankind”; an uplifting and hopeful song with an old-time gospel vibe. “Usher” is the fourth track off “Taller”. It comes along with a slamming groove dripping with so much funk magic that even the crustiest of IRS agent would be unable to resist moving to it. The fifth track (“The Age of Anxiety”) is the most touching song of the ten. You can feel Cullum baring his soul on this one. After that we have “For The Love”; an uplifting song about fighting through hard times and following your dreams. The amazing melodies roll on with the inspirational “Drink”. This song features tough-love lyrics and a melody that will make your soul soar. “You Can’t Hide Away From Love” is the eighth and most romantic song of the album. Listening to this song is like sharing a candle lit dinner with your sweetheart on the rooftop of the tallest building in the world. Number nine is called “Monster”. It’s yet another gem of inspiration which communicates the profound difficulties of pursuing one’s highest ideals. The album finishes with the sweet and quiet “Endings Are Beginnings”. This one has an almost lullaby quality. It brings a fantastic album to a cozy and touching finish.
“Taller” has a great production value as well. It possesses all the trimmings of a modern and well-polished recording, but it also has the warm and fuzzy analog feel of a record produced in the ‘50s. This is accomplished with lightly distorted or overdriven drum sounds and rich fat tones on almost everything. The vocals sound particularly nice. Cullum’s voice sits right on top of every mix. It not only cuts through but it has weight and body to it as well. I don’t know how Jamie squeezed so many thick juicy tones into one album, but my ears are very happy he did.
This is an album suited for lots of occasions. Whether you’re throwing a parting, taking a drive, or just want some music to work to, “Taller” fits the bill.
If you’d like to know more about Jamie Cullum you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you’d like to hear his music you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most places music is sold or streamed. You can also visit his website at www.jamiecullum.com/.