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James Morrison ft. Nelly Furtado - 'Broken Strings'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:25 UK time, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

James MorrisonThere's a minor gripe I need to get out of the way first, so to apologise for starting with negativity, I shall lace it with a compliment: I like James Morrison. I like his voice, I like his songs - he's that rare breed of guy-with-guitar who doesn't irritate me in any way, and 'You Give Me Something' still gives me goosebumps when I hear it. However, let's talk about those album titles: I was willing to overlook 'Undiscovered', despite it being a bit cloying as first album titles go, because it did at least make a lick of sense when heard in the context of the title track. But 'Songs For You, Truths For Me'? No no no no no. That will not do at all. Get back to album-naming school and don't come back until you've learned something, Morrison.

Ahem. Right. So, 'Broken Strings', then? I'm normally a little bit suspicions of duets because they tend to be more about adding a bit of extra selling power than they do about actually creating a decent record, but in this case it really works: Nelly Furtado's voice harmonises with James's really well, to the extent that it actually left me thinking I'd like to hear them sing more stuff together.

It all starts off rather lovely and subdued, with the backing being very subtle but hinting at epicness to come in the next three minutes or so, and James Morrison's voice being all deep and soulful and at its very best, to my reckoning.

Nelly comes in on the second verse and does much the same, and it's all gradually building, and then pretty much bang on the three minute mark, just as expected, it sort of explodes into something quite dramatic and Coldplay-y, and I speak this as someone who isn't particularly fussed about Coldplay one way or the other, but it's really really effective.

And then it all melts down for a few moments before kicking up again, and it's like all the best bits of an '80s power ballad without all the permed hair.

What's not to love about that?

Five starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: December 8th

(Steve Perkins)


  • Comment number 1.

    this really is a fantastic song, hoping it will beef up the album sales for him. altho i do wonder if he's ever met nelly furtado seeing as they obv didnt shoot the vid together and could have recorded seperatly. I'd like to hear them together live!

    having said that, Keisha from sugababes has been joining him on tour and it was great!

  • Comment number 2.

    as they obv didnt shoot the vid together


    You really think they didnt shoot together?

    lets see, two options for the scenes where they are on opposite sides of the glass:

    1. Shoot seperately and use expensive CG effects to superimpose them on the same scene or

    2. Shoot the scene with then on opposite sides of the same piece of glass.

    I wonder which they did?

  • Comment number 3.

    If their schedules didn't co incide in time for them to get the video done for when they wanted to release the single (to boost album sales for xmas maybe) then they may have been forced to.

    I dont know for sure, but i base that statement on having never seen any photos of james and nelly together or in any backstage stuff to do with the video. But i dont know for sure - wonder if anyone here can enlighten us?

  • Comment number 4.

    I can't say with any authority whether they were both there or not. But you might want to check the many backstage clips there are from the video shoot on James's YouTube channel. Can you spot Nelly there? Was she in makeup the whole time?


    Also, this page is rather interesting, don't you think?


  • Comment number 5.

    I did have a quick dig about on those vids before i posted and couldnt find anything solid to prove either way, i thought she might be there seeing as it was filmed in canada (she's canadian right? i cant rememeber). but the craigslist thing is interesting. evidence suggests no Nelly me thinks.


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