Monday, August 3, 2009

First Listen: Bleu, A Watched Pot

Oh, what a disappointment.

Bleu is William James McAuley, a Boston-area songwriter. He's made two previous Bleu albums, full of quirky pop and cheeky lyrics, and both were a joy. He's also the man behind L.E.O., the greatest Jeff Lynne tribute ever. Four years ago, he made this third album, A Watched Pot. His label, Aware/Columbia, rejected it, and he's been fighting for years to get it back and release it somewhere else.

Listening to it, I'm not sure why. If you bought A Watched Pot expecting fun pop music (and the cheesy-cool cover art certainly leads you in that direction), you're going to be let down. Nearly every song is an overproduced, radio-ready ballad, with strings surging and heartstrings tugging. It's painful to hear Bleu reduce himself to songs like "Save Me" and "Boy Meets Girl." He's better than this.

There are a couple of songs I like. The soulful "I Won't Fuck You Over This Time" has the best lyrics on the record, the sweet "When the Lights Go Out" has the best melody, and the soaring "Go" is the finest of the Big Ballads. (This song appeared on Hanson's latest album, The Walk, and was co-written by Zac Hanson.) But overall, A Watched Pot is depressingly middle-of-the-road, and considering Bleu's undeniable talent, that's a sad, sad thing.


  1. wow...harsh. bleu fans have been doing sing-a-longs to Boy Meets Girl for four years now, it's a pretty catchy tune! so catchy in fact a warner bros artist decided it needed to be a hit song and it's all over the radio right now...hopefully earn bleu another gold record as a songwriter...although i don't like the other version (by Evan Taubenfeld)...when other artists cover your songs...that means you've done something right. Kiss Me? that one doesn't make you want to shake your bootie? do you have a pulse? must not. and also, why do negative reviews just assume details about a situation? to each his own, you don't like the record, plenty of others do, but Columbia did not "reject" the least read a bio if you are going to write a review...Boston fan for life...Rebecca.

  2. Hey Rebecca,

    A couple quick responses. First, a hit song does not equal a good song, in my opinion. "Boy Meets Girl" sounds like it was written specifically for that purpose - for some modern country star to cover and sell millions of records with. I guess that means Bleu has done something right, if that's what he wants. I prefer his songs that no one will ever cover. They're more uniquely him.

    I've read many, many bios on the situation, but I'll gladly admit if I have it wrong. What exactly happened with the album at Columbia? Sorry you didn't like the review. I really wanted to like the album, I promise you.