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.