Music Review: British singer Passenger falls short on new album

RON HARRIS Associated Press Published:

Passenger, "Whispers" (Black Crow/Nettwerk)

Mike Rosenberg, the man behind the inescapable breakup ballad "Let Her Go," is out with a new album that is full of songs that sounds an awful lot like his breakthrough pop hit.

Rosenberg, the British singer-songwriter who performs under the moniker Passenger, has a wonderfully natural voice and his touching guitar approach remains adorable. But there are no gems on "Whispers," and his fifth solo album comes off as little more than a rote display of comfort-level songwriting.

"Coins in a Fountain" challenges the senses right off the bat, opting for an odd blend of world-beat styled percussion and rhythm. The song is full of painfully corny similes dished out in rapid-fire succession. And on the title track, Rosenberg longs for bits of solitude in a world filled with too much of, well, everything. But the poignant message is buried under layer after layer of instruments.

Rosenberg, 30, reached international success when his 2012 song "Let Her Go" became a surprise hit late last year, peaking at No. 5 in America and selling close to 4 million tracks. His new album, though, seems to borrow too much from what made him a recognizable name, and that's unfortunate.

The singer shines on the single "Heart's on Fire." It's a heart-wrenching song about a love torn apart and one person's patience in hoping it will return. Rosenberg sings like he's been there -- and means every word.

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