Picks and Pans Review: The Lead and How to Swing It
Tony Bennett and Johnny Cash aren't the only wrinkled darlings of the under-30 crowd. Showbiz warhorse Tom Jones has been drawing younger fans to his shows lately—and now he's out to capitalize on his budding coolness with his first album of original music in six years. But where Bennett and Cash have been embraced on their own terms, Jones—whose maxim is always let them see you sweat—runs after a new audience with outstretched arms, waving the trendy resumes of his many producers (some of whose previous clients include Nine Inch Nails, Killing Joke and Seal). The result is an album that strains to please everyone, from hipsters to folks with artificial hips.
Jones is in fine voice, letting rip with an urgently soulful shout on the guitar-driven rocker "A Girl Like You." But his emotive muscle is exactly wrong for such desiccated dance-club numbers as "Situation." Longtime fans will be grateful for the more traditionally Jonesian funk and pop offered here (one winner: "I Wanna Get Back with You," with Tori Amos), but the trendier stuff is likely to leave them quoting one of the new songs: "I Don't Think So." (Interscope)