Aug 8, 2012Tom Jones has had a long and nearly legendary career, reinventing himself time and time again over the decades in his bid for relevance. And he has done remarkably well. A cartoon icon of the sexy sixties, he's the last man standing of his Easy Listening contemporaries.
But music has changed - not just in style and tempo, but in connection. Jones predates the Singer/Songwriter, and has made his career singing the songs of other men. In the past, his range, bombast and verve has carried him through. With "Spirit in the Room," however, the veneer has been stripped away enough to expose his disconnection with the material.
The notes are there, the presentation is there... but all too often, it feels like he's singing phonetically in a language foreign to himself. The emotional underpinning of the songs he covers here feel unsupported; they are words to music without resonance in his soul.
They are acoustic Sussudio.
I have heard this album - this style - compared with Johnny Cash's later works, and the comparison is valid, And, at 70, it is understandable why Jones would vector his career in this direction. But Cash was a songwriter, and knew as well as any real troubadour the connection between the story and the heart. Where Cash could internalize another man's song and transmute it to his own, Jones is only able to present it. He presents it well - but presentation alone is not enough to make this release anything more than a novelty in his catalog.… Full Review »