Paul Young's Love Songs collection gathers 14 romantic ballads spanning his entire career, including early hits like "Come Back and Stay," and "Everytime You Go Away" -- one of the '80s most perfect love songs -- as well as material from his more straightforwardly soul-based '90s albums. Though most of his work fuses soulful vocals and song structures with synths and polished productions, Young takes this formula in very different directions on each of his albums, lending an almost new romantic bent to No Parlez material like the lovely, elegiac "Broken Man," and his misguided but interesting cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Young's voice is simply too warm and happy-sounding to really fit Ian Curtis' dour classic about doomed love, but the cover isn't a train wreck -- actually, it resembles something that could've appeared on Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles. Likewise, From Time to Time's cover of "Don't Dream It's Over" is a well-intentioned miss; though Young's voice is gorgeous, the song need the earnest, slightly nasal bite of Neil Finn's singing to truly connect. Between Two Fires' "Wonderland" and "Some People" have a shimmering, but somewhat bland sophistication, while The Crossing's "It Will Be You" and "Now I Know What Made Otis Blue" reflect the mature, stripped-down soul appeal of his '90s work. Indeed, his more recent material makes his cover of "Oh Girl" look positively airbrushed. Including more of Young's more current work, like "Senza Una Donna," would've been nice, but Love Songs does feature an acoustic version of "Follow On" that appeared as a B-side to "It Will Be You" for diehard fans. Overall, this is a pleasant and occasionally inspired collection of Young's work, even if it's not quite as captivating or complete as one of his greatest-hits collections. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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