My first three impressions of Bleu’s Redhead were: A) This sounds like it was made for a show on the WB or a movie soundtrack appealing to the same demographic, B) This sounds like Semisonic, and C) This really sounds like Jude. Well, two out of three ain’t bad, folks. With a song on the Spiderman soundtrack (“Somebody Else”) and others appearing on The Real World, and aid from Dan Wilson of Semisonic, this Boston rocker (from the same state as Jude), has produced a wicked nice pop-rock record with hooks as big as his mutton chops.
Bleu (born William James McAuley III) isn’t breaking any new ground here. Redhead is full of songs about break-ups, relationships and heartache, which is pretty much what one expects from a pop album. However, all the songs are crafted well and Bleu really makes the most of his material. His roots and musical influences come through loud and clear: the Beatles, Queen, and a lot of George Michael (check out the second hidden track “Dance Dance Baby”). His songs are replete with background vocals, big guitars and fully produced background instrumentation. The songs never deviate from a standard structure, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some songs on the album do sound a bit repetitive, and seem to drag on a bit longer than they should.
Opener “Get Up” starts with a repetitive note that sounds like the opening to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” (What a weird collaboration that would be!) After a few bars, the similarities end and powerful guitars, hard drumming and a clean, strong vocal kick in. It’s easy enough to set your alarm clock to this one. Other great songs are the bouncy pop gem “Could Be Worse,” “We’ll Do It All Again,” and the aforementioned “Dance Dance Baby.”
No doubt we’ll be hearing more from Blue in the future. He definitely has the potential to write a pop hit or two down the line. In the meantime, Redhead is a solid pop record that all fans of the genre will enjoy. If you like this album, tide yourself over until Blue’s next release with Jude’s No One Is Really Beautiful (1995, Maverick).