On the soft-rock throwback "1973"—the opening track and first single of James Blunt's second CD—the British troubadour gets lost in a nostalgic reverie. And this superior follow-up to 2005's hit Back to Bedlam rewinds the clock to the '70s singer-songwriter heyday of folks like James Taylor, Cat Stevens and Elton John. With 10 songs wrapping up in a concise 39 minutes, it's even constructed like an old '70s LP. Although he rocks out a bit on the Beatles-tinged "Give Me Some Love," Blunt still has a gentle streak a mile wide. His wispy voice brings just the right wistfulness to ballads like the haunting "I Really Want You" and "I Can't Hear the Music," which, in its final strains, delivers a note-perfect ending.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Same Mistake," an aching lament that just may be even lovelier than "You're Beautiful"