Paolo Nutini, These Streets (Atlantic, 2006)

He won't even be twenty until January 9, but Scottish singer Paolo Nutini is already building a reputation for himself on the musical scene thanks to his debut CD These Streets. A native of the Glasgow suburb of Paisley (but, as his name rather obviously indicates, of Italian descent on his father's side), Nutini has a husky voice very well suited for blue-eyed soul. These Streets mixes tempos, with rockers like the opening song "Jenny Don't Be Hasty" (a plea to a girlfriend who's decided he's too young for her), ballads like "Last Request," and fun groove-oriented songs like "New Shoes." Nutini's Scottish accent frequently emerges in the vocals, even when he's trying to channel soul singers like Al Green.

My one complaint with the album is that there's too much focus on the softer material. I would have really preferred more songs like "Jenny Don't Be Hasty" and "New Shoes." Nutini does sometimes come across as the teenager he is in his lyrics, and maybe tries a bit too hard to sound grown up, but it comes across as an honest reflection of his personality, and will not turn off older listeners. Basically, he's a good kid with plenty of talent, and with some luck a bright future in music. These Streets isn't outstanding, but there are enough good songs on this album to justify giving it a listen, and to remember the name Paolo Nutini.

Overall grade: B
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